Saturday, 19 September 2009

Railways (20): Mangapps Railway Museum

Mangapps Farm Railway Museum at Burnham-on-Crouch (on the Dengie peninsula) celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year. The collection is that of farmer and enthusiast, Mr Jolly. It tells of the story of railways predominantly in Essex and East Anglia and occupies the site where steam or diesel never ran but now has a single track of ¾ mile linking Mangapps station with Old Heath (previously Horham and Laxfield stations respectively on the long-time closed Mid Suffolk Railway). This was my second visit to the museum, my first being soon after it opened. I was quite surprised to see how much had been acquired, how well it was laid out, and how well the story was told. It was a pleasant afternoon out.

Mangapps Station

Old Heath Station

The museum’s website ( says that it has one of the largest signalling collections in the country. There are acquisitions of station furniture which were replaced, I suppose, in the 1980s.

Two Class 302 carriages are in preservation, acquired from the London Tilbury and Fenchurch Street line in the late 1990s. These, I believe, are the only survivals, alas kitted out in the horrid refurbished look of the 1980s. There was a romance of individual compartments, though nicknamed ‘cattle trucks’. A ride on one pulled by a Class 47 diesel engine was a trip into nostalgia. Part of a diesel multiple unit which operated the line from Wickford to Southminster, post steam and pre electrification, is also in Mr Jolly’s collection.

A Northern Line Underground train of ancient days which ceased service in the late 1990s tells the story of the expansion of the London Underground network beyond the city into the country.

The museum has a substantial collection of rolling stock on view plus posters and other material telling of the social history of the railway in Essex and beyond.

… and also refreshments. A great afternoon out.
For more about local railways, click on the label, left.

No comments: