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Tuesday, 8 September 2020

East Anglia Transport Museum

I always try to visit a heritage railway when on holiday but where we were staying in south east Norfolk there was not one close by. We did find the East Anglia Transport Museum at Carlton Colville near Lowestoft

Famed for working trolley buses and trams they also have a narrow gauge railway. The diesel locomotives came from quarry or industrial workings and the passenger coaches were made at the museum.

We were very lucky that our holiday coincided with the first day of opening since lockdown (currently only open Sunday and Thursday afternoons). No need to book and pay in advance (unlike many other venues during the pandemic). Just turn up and hope they have not had to close the gate due to capacity being reached. I thought it would be crowded on the first day of opening but it was not and I don't think anyone was turned away. I was told the visitor numbers were typical for a Sunday when fine weather encourages people to visit nearby Lowestoft beach instead of the museum.

The museum occupies a small site with a large variety of vintage vehicles, mostly housed in reproductions of vintage garages. An adjacent field has been purchased to expand the museum to more than double its current size.

One vehicle that caught my attention was a Thornycroft J class lorry, many miles from its Basingstoke manufacturer base. These are very rare today, despite over 5000 being manufactured in the early years of the 20th Century. I understand the engine has been restored to working order and further bodywork restoration is in progress.

It caught my attention because I modelled the J class for our Thornycroft Sidings N gauge layout

A trolley bus built in the 1950s and a 1927 tram that once operated in Blackpool were offering rides during our visit. 

Another surprise for me was trolley bus number 696 (built in 1938) showing a Dartford destination, Dartford being my home town during my childhood years. I vaguely remember trolley buses in Dartford but buses I travelled on to go to school were of the modern kind.

This museum is well worth a visit and I would go again when in the area.

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