April 30, 1844

30/04/2019 all-day

The railways arrived in Norfolk. The Yarmouth and Norwich Railway was formally opened on April 30. The Norfolk Annals reported: “The county was indebted to Mr Robert Stephenson, the celebrated engineer and ‘father of railways’, for the introduction of the line.”

Thousands of people assembled at Thorpe Station, Norwich, to witness the departure of the first train at 10.30. “Hundreds thronged the line at various points, and a great crowd gathered at Yarmouth to see the arrival.

“Howlett’s brass band occupied a third class carriage next to the engine and other carriages were reserved for 200 guests, specially invited by the directors.

“The train started amid loud cheers, and accomplished the journey in 50.5 minutes; the return trip was done in 44 minutes. At four o’clock a dinner was held at the Assembly Rooms, Norwich, under the presidency of Mr Samuel Peto [railway entrepreneur].

“The railway was opened for public traffic on May 1, when 1,015 passengers were booked.”

The bust of Samuel Morton Peto

Today, a bust of Samuel Morton Peto, the financier who helped build the line, can be seen at Norwich Thorpe Station.