The Bure Valley Railway claim on there web site that their "trains pass through scenery which is as varied, interesting and beautiful as any to be found on a railway journey in England". I beg to differ.
Don't get me wrong, it's a pleasant enough line, and quite pretty in a flat sort of way.
But, when the highlight is Norfolk's only operational railway tunnel, a short affair which carries the railway under the Aylsham Bypass, one has to admit that it is a bit dull.
All the better, therefore, to combine it with a boat trip on the Norfolk Broads on one of their Boat Train services.
The trains on the other-hand are splendid. Spitfire, in particular is one of the finest minimum gauge (15") engines I've ever seen, and looks particularly smart with its Brunswick Green livery and Great Western fittings.
It, and its brother engine Blickling Hall (a rather more dowdy Midland Railway Crimson Lake job), are based on the Indian Railways ZB design and entered service in 1994, just four year's after the line opened.
The twin villages of Hoveton and Wroxham sit either side of the Rive Bure joined by the ancient Wroxham Bridge. Despite being the smaller of the two, Wroxham's name predominates, and Wroxham railway station is in fact in Hoveton.
I should perhaps say railway stations as, although it is immediately adjacent to the Network Rail site, the BVR's station is a separate building.
From there it is a short walk to the old Loynes Boathouse, now trading as Broads Tours who offer a variety of river trips, both in association with the Bure Valley Railway and independantly. The 2hr trip visits Wroxham Broad, Salhouse Broad and on downstream as far as Dydler's Mill.
The captain gives an interesting and informative commentary throughout, although I must admit my attention may have drifted a little when he was explaining the exact differences between the Broads Authority and a National Park Authority.
External Links and References
More information from the official site. https://www.broadstours.co.uk/