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Brandon is on the Ely - Norwich line, west of Thetford. The town is in Suffolk but the station is in Norfolk (the county boundary is the stream just south of the station).
Railway type and traffic
Central Trains Liverpool - Norwich (hourly) and Greater Anglia Cambridge - Norwich (hourly), both usually with class 170 DMUs (but some Central Trains services are still 158s).
Very limited - Mountsorrel - Trowse (Norwich) Lafarge stone train 2 or 3 times a week (runs early afternoon at present - perfect for this location), operated (at October 2004) by DB Schenker using class 66 locos (but rumours abound of a Freightliner Heavy Haul takeover), plus occasional short term contract stone trains to Eccles Road (usually Freightliner) and the seasonal 'sugar stone' to Trowse (DB Schenker).
On Brandon station, at the edge of the town. The station is unstaffed.
From Brandon town centre head north on the A134. Just after crossing the level crossing turn right into the station car park.Click here to set up your location for directions to this location Brandon map co-ordinates
Use the station car park, which is free. Alternatively, park in the lane on the south side of the line, adjacent to the up platform. However, this is used for access to the Lignacite concrete products works, so must be kept clear for lorries, and you will also need to reverse part of the way down it to get out again.
Some Central Trains services and, from December 2004, 'one' Anglia trains call at Brandon. The local bus operator is First Eastern Counties, and buses pass the station.Click here to set up your location for directions to this location
Toilets and shops (including a small Co-op supermarket) in the town centre, 5-10 minutes walk away. There is also a fish and chip shop, while the pub next to the station serves food.
Sun Compass using Suncalc by brought to you by Vladimir Agafonkin
It might be necessary to adjust the time to suit your visit, this link should open with the current day.
Brandon general view map
Brandon close up map
Windows Local Live Link
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Railway Gen Group
The line runs east-west, and shots can be had of trains in both directions. Advance warning of trains is given by the lowering of the level crossing barriers by the signaller followed by the clearing of semaphore signals.
The best shots are of eastbound trains, approaching or crossing the level crossing. There is a signalbox and semaphore signals (see photo below). The shots are taken from the up (westbound) platform, and I prefer a telephoto lens as it allows the train, signalbox and shunt dolly to be brought closer together without the train obscuring the box.
It is also possible to shoot from the footbridge, although the platform lights get in the way a bit. The light is right for this shot until mid afternoon (it is great in the morning); the sun moves off the nose at about 1-2pm.
Looking east the shots are not as easy to do as they were 10 or 15 years ago, due to the growth of trees and bushes.
Going away shots of eastbound trains are excellent from the up (westbound) platform, framed by the footbridge (again I prefer a telephoto lens).
From the footbridge shots of approaching trains are quite head on but possible, and if the sun is not out you can shoot from the down (eastbound) platform. In the background are some fine semaphore signals, but I can not see any way of getting closer to them. The sun comes onto the nose for westbound trains at about 1-2pm, and should get round onto the north side of the track by late evening in the summer.
It is possible to get shots of westbound trains from the old goods dock, but again the view is hampered by bushes. This involves entering the Lignacite yard, and, if you can find someone to ask, permission is usually granted provided you stay on the railway side of the yard.
Videoing is great from the station platforms or footbridge.
The line is quite straight to the east of the station, and it is possible to pan round when on the platform. There may be some noise from the Lignacite works (but it is closed at weekends).
General views - All photographs © Brian Carter unless otherwise stated
Fig 1 - Looking west
A train approaching the level crossing, taken in August at about midday using 135mm lens.The working is a Wembley - Norwich Crown Point ECS, hauled by Cotswold Rail 47316 and 47200
Fig 2 - Looking east
An eastbound Central Trains service calls at the down platform. This was taken in August at around 2pm, using a 135mm lens. The station building is faced in flint.
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