With the weather forecast very good it was to be another of my Anglia Plus Days out and this time it was up to Norwich on the first train at 847. First I caught the 64 bus from Layer Road and then having got to the station to buy my tickets for £19, I had time to buy a coffee. My intention was to head West out of Norwich and make Ely my first stop. I reached Norfolk at 950 and quickly looked for my next train which was the East Midlands train at 957 which was going up to Liverpool. Wading into and through the first of the two carriages, almost all the seats seemed saved, so in the middle of the two carriages, I then found a seat and sat there for the 45 minute journey. Having reached Ely, it was busy as usual as the trains go through it to London, Ipswich, Cambridge, Norwich, the Midlands, the North West and beyond.
Out of the station concourse, I was heading down a road to the right, which took me past a riverside pub, boats moored up, then it was a cut through a small park area and a walk up a path that took me towards the cathedral. I had planned to have around 90 minutes there, but funnily that became about 80 initially, but later became longer. As I was about to exit Ely station, a voice called out and it was my cricket friend Norman who lived on the route up to Cromer, he was off to Downham Market. Funnily I had met him in Norwich at the Christmas break and he was the one who told me about the Anglia Plus ticket. Having seen the cathedral from the outside only (too expensive to go in - £8, or £6 as a concession), I looked at the other things of note, like the fireman’s cottage.
Close to the cathedral was St Mary’s church and the Oliver Cromwell house which is now the tourist board office, where I bought a small book about Oliver Cromwell which I read on the train home, this cost £1.99. On my three previous visits to Ely my leaves there had been fraught with problems. Today that was not going to happen was it ?
Well it did again, sadly !!!
With the train due to leave at 1216, I was there by 12. Retracking my previous errors, this included one where I had miscalculated and literally had to run to get my train. Then another late arrival saw me scurry under the tunnel to the far side as I heard a train come in, only to find that it was a goods one. Last time, I was in place, but in looking down the track for the Ipswich bound train, I failed to notice it sneak in behind me, and was hidden behind the station building, and it was only when it left that I was to realise my error. However what would happen this time. Well first the 1216 East Midlands train was late due to power problems, and was not due in until 1231 (on platform 3b).
The 1228 from Cambridge to Norwich was on time (platform 1). As I waited for the 1228, I am sure they announced that the East Midlands train which had not arrive would go first as the first stop was Thetford, so I rushed to platform 3b. However the 1228 arrived on platform 1, and with still no sign of the late running 1216, I went back to platform 1 just as the train left. Now it was back to platform 3b and finally it did turn up around 20 minutes late and was now on adjoining platform 2. Ely station is a bit like Cromer, the train comes in one way and then the driver has take it out from the other end on some trains from the North. We were now on the move and we reached Thetford at around 1pm. Wanting to cover Norwich later, I then aimed to get the 138 from Thetford, so had about 35 minutes to do a quick tour of the town.
I was now in Thetford and my train was leaving for Norwich and after first trying to leave by the wrong exit, I saw the railway tavern and knew that I had to use the foot bridge to get to the town centre.
On the junction to the road, as you were turning into the main shopping street was St Peter’s church and it was then to be a quick wander about the town.
In this shopping street, there was a statute, a sign near to the car park and a church, then further down and it was St Cuthbert’s church which I went in during 2016.
Round the corner to the right was the Dad’s Army museum which seemed to be closed, but now I wanted to find the river, and that I managed and I needed to hurry as time was getting on.
Having found the river and the bird life, I continued on my way to find the seated Capt Mainwaring from Dad’s Army and did a selfie with him.
Photos taken with him, I then had to get back to the rail station, passing St Peter’s church again. I was there in time, but once more the train was a bit late, but not so much as the last East Midlands one.
I reached Norwich around 235 and went on the look out for a few more City churches.
After Finklegate, I started to head back towards the City Centre again and passing down Surrey Street where the bus station certainly looked a lot different from when I got buses from there in the 1970’s. Then it was down Chapelfield North and a view ahead of the Roman Catholic Cathedral and of Trinity URC.
By 230pm, I was starting to make my way to the rail station, taking a few more church photos on my way. With around ten minutes to spare I was nearly there so just had time to go to Subway for a black coffee to take away. Then it was onto my train and most of the journey was spent reading the Cromwell book as we went past Diss, Stowmarket, Ipswich and Manningtree, with Colchester reached just after 5pm. It was a bus ride home, a dinner eaten, then most of the evening I slept. Then on going to bed around 11pm, I slept right through until 615am Saturday morning.