page updated
20 May 2015

Lynn & Sutton Bridge Railway

Kings Lynn Junction to Sutton Bridge (Cross Keys Bridge).

Date Event Source
6 August 1861 Royal assent given to Lynn & Sutton Bridge Act authorising 9 miles 51 chains of railway to be built from West Lynn to a point east of Sutton Bridge station. RM 1898-8.
RM 1936-9.
Mike Back.
1863 Royal assent given to Lynn & Sutton Bridge Act amending the 1861 Act. London Gazette, 24 July 1863, page 3670.
2 November 1863 "South Lynn was officially opened for goods ... but over 22 years elapsed before passenger traffic became available with the opening of the Lynn Loop."
It is not known what led the RM to make this statement as it is generally accepted to be wrong.
The Ordnance Survey six-inch map, Norfolk sheet XXXIII.SW, which includes the (later) South Lynn railway site was produced from an 1884 survey and published in 1886. It shows the railway as a single line but nothing whatsoever in respect of any railway sidings or other facilities. Significant features are Saddlebow Road over bridge and two ponds forming part of the local drainage arrangements. The rest is paths, drainage channels and sluices, and a Sheepfold.
None of the correspondents who wrote to RM subsequent to the article seems to have mentioned that this date was in error.
Possible causes of the error include wrongly noting the correct date of 2 November 1885 when South Lynn opened for goods traffic.
RM 1936-9
9 November 1863 Lynn & Sutton Bridge Railway gave notice to:
  1. Allow the company and the Great Northern Railway to enter into agreements in respect of maintenance and working,
  2. Allow sale of the company, including the New Cross Keys Bridge, to the Great Northern Railway.
London Gazette, 24 November 1863, page 5901.
12 November 1863 Lynn & Sutton Bridge Railway gave notice to: amend the Lynn & Sutton Bridge Railway Act 1863 so as to cancel the requirement to construct a separate roadway with sufficient screen between the railway and the roadway. London Gazette, 1 December 1863, page 6317.
25 July 1864 Royal assent given to Lynn & Sutton Railway (Cross Keys Bridge) Act repealing the Act of 1863 and requiring instead that the Company shall provide and maintain for ever after a separate roadway side by side with the railway and that the railway shall not be opened until they shall have erected to the satisfaction of the Board of Trade a sufficient screen between the railway and the roadway to prevent as much possible danger in consequence of horses being frightened by the sight of engines or carriages upon the railway. Also required regulations for the use of the bridge to be agreed and published. Act of Parliament.
1 November 1864 Line opened for traffic. TIA 1960.
29 June 1865 Royal assent given to Lynn & Sutton Railway Act authorising:
  1. Railway No.1 from the western end of the Cross Keys bridge to a junction with the Norwich & Spalding Railway near to the eastward of the level crossing of an occupation road in a field belonging to Guy's Hospital, including level crossing of a public road and a turnpike road,
  2. Railway No.2 from a junction with Railway No.1 about fifty five yards westward of the end of Cross Keys bridge and terminating by a junction with Railway No.4 described in the Peterborough, Wisbeach and Sutton Railway Act, 1863, opposite or nearly opposite the Cross Keys Inn at Sutton Bridge, including level crossing of a public road and the same turnpike road,
  3. A new passenger station near to the present passenger station with ownership transferred to the Norwich & Spalding Railway,
  4. Charge tolls for the use of the Cross Keys bridge,
  5. Various other financial issues.
Act of Parliament
18 December 1865 Local report that the first locomotive crossing of Cross Keys bridge took place. Presumed to be contractor's locomotive preparing for the Board of Trade inspection. Mike Back
22 December 1865 Board of Trade Inspection: further work needed on bridge which has swing span in middle; also signals need to be spaced instead of at crossings. Line cannot be opened. MT6/37/14 via Mike Back.
6 January 1866 Lynn & Sutton Bridge meeting: Board of Trade Inspected by Captain Tyler: traffic is expected to commence in a week or so; a few alterations needed to the signals. Mike Back
3 February 1866 Lynn & Sutton Bridge expected to be open in about a fortnight after alterations ordered by the Board of Trade completed. The contractors (Wareing & Bakersley) will then have to work the line as negotiations with the Midland Railway have not proved successful. Railway News via Mike Back.
22 February 1866 Undertaking given under seal by Lynn & Sutton Bridge Railway to Board of Trade to work the line by Train Staff. MT6/37/14 via Mike Back.
28 February 1866 Purchase of Cross Keys Bridge company completed. Mike Back
1 March 1866 Instruction for working the line issued. MT6/37/14 via Mike Back.
1 March 1866 Lynn & Sutton Bridge Railway now opened for passengers only, to the Norwich & Spalding station at Sutton Bridge. Railway Times via Mike Back.
16 March 1866 Lynn & Sutton Bridge meeting: agreed that the Contractors shall work the line. Mike Back
31 March 1866 Lynn & Sutton Bridge meeting: line opened for passengers only on 1 March 1866. Arrangements for goods are as yet incomplete. Hope to be ready in a very short period of time. Mike Back
6 July 1866 Joint meeting: goods yards on the Lynn & Sutton Bridge are merely formed by a slight cover of gravel over the silt. Need to be properly metalled with broken granite same as at the Norwich & Spalding stations. Mike Back
23 July 1866 Royal assent given to Midland & Eastern Railway Act allowing the Midland & Eastern Railway to take over the line. TIA 1960.

Subsequent Chronology