Last month saw the publication of another fascinating blog post from local history enthusiast and M&GN expert Stuart McPherson AKA The Mile Cross Man, telling the story of an episode in the line's past that you may never have heard about: that of the Wensum Dipper. A key member of Friends of Norwich City Station (FONCS), a group who have carried out hugely valuable work revealing traces of the railway line around the beginning of Marriott's Way, Stu is well placed to share the human stories that illuminate their physical finds, and this is one of the best.
The piece begins by giving an introductory (and pictorial) overview of the bridge's various incarnations, from carrying trains across the original striking A-Frame to walkers and cyclists on Dragon Bridge today. Like any of the areas around the Mile Cross area covered by Stu's blog, a read of this will certainly ensure you look at the bridge with new eyes the next time you pass along Marriott's Way. If you have ever been on one of tours around the Barn Road/Train Wood site of the old Norwich City Station led by FONCS, you may have heard the story of the Wensum Dipper, one which begins (as Stu recounts) on 'a cold and misty November morning back in 1946' and ends with a Melton Constable-bound goods train plunged into the Wensum. However, as a read of Stu's article will tell you, the story doesn't in fact end there. In 2014, the fireman on board the train - David Jackson - attended an exhibition of Stuart's in Melton Constable and shared his memories of the day. Back on the job the day after the incident, Jackson became known among colleagues as 'the Wensum Duck', and his words lend themselves to an even richer image of the day's events.
Head over to Stuart's blog to read the full story 'David Jackson rides the Wensum Dipper', and as he suggests 'think about it the next time you’re walking or cycling across ‘Dragon Bridge’!'