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By train - Burnham on crouch mainline station is about a mile south of Mangapps Museum
and is served by National Express East Anglia trains about once an hour.
By Car - The entrance to the museum is on the west side of the B1021 Burnham on Crouch
to Southminster road and is easy to find by following the brown tourist attraction
signs (see map above for location).
Mangapps Railway Museum is of special interest to me as my wife used to live nearby
when there was nothing but a farm there. I heard rumours that a collection of locomotives
and stock was gathering on the farm in the late 1980s but it was not until I had
the opportunity to visit in 2010 that I found out the extent.
The list above gives an indication of the locomotives and stock that are now either
on display or being restored at Mangapps. The rolling stock together with the vast
collection of memorabilia makes the museum well worth a visit if you are in the area.
Once parked, tickets can be bought from the gift shop and refreshment rooms which
are housed in two vintage carriages, one an LNER Gresley, I’m not sure about the
other one. There is a grass picnic area with tables on the other side of the refreshment
coaches. Mangapps station platform is accessed by a short path, here you can see
the displays housed in the Station Master’s Office and Lamp Hut before proceeding
to the museum buildings at the end of the platform.
Mangapps has one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of railway items
in Britain, particularly the signalling display, many of the smaller items are housed
in historic carriages inside the museum. Of particular interest are the large collection
of signs and destination boards from stations in East Anglia, many of which I remember
seeing in their original locations.
On the opposite side to the platform is a path between the sidings where some of
the stock can be viewed up close. It also provides access to Mangapps Junction Signal
Box which is open for public viewing.
Entry tickets include train rides and lineside walks through pleasant countryside
well away from any roads, I went on a steam day when trains were operated by an ex
NCB Barclay 0-4-0ST similar to one I have had the privilege to drive at Cranmore
on the East Somerset Railway. The train stops at Old Heath station on the return
journey where passengers can alight to walk to the far end of the line, this is also
a good opportunity for photography.
I had been looking forward for many years to going back to Burnham on Crouch to visit
Mangapps Railway Museum and it did not disappoint. The collection that has been built
up from scratch is very impressive and has a strong bias towards the railways of
East Anglia, which is particularly interesting to me as it is where I lived for most
of my life.
Opening is restricted to weekends and bank holidays and it’s best to check the museum’s
website for times before you go, but do make time to visit.
A Working Steam Railway Museum Built on a Green Field Site.
Nestling in the rural Essex countryside on a farm near Burnham on Crouch, the Mangapps
Railway Museum is a privately owned working museum with locomotives, rolling stock,
restored buildings and memorabilia gathered from all over East Anglia and in some
cases, further afield.
1984 - The Jolly Family moved into Mangapps Farm near Burnham on Crouch in Essex.
Recognising the need to diversify and having a keen interest in East Anglia’s railway
heritage, the Jollys started gathering artefacts from the region with a view to opening
a working museum.
1985 - The first large item to be acquired and moved to the farm was the waiting
room at Mangapps station. It was originally built by the Midland & Great Northern
Joint Railway in 1894 at Great Ormesby, Norfolk and was relocated to Brampton on
the East Suffolk line in 1960.
1987 - The main building at Mangapps station was moved complete from Horham on the
Mid-Suffolk Light Railway. Built in about 1904, the building was in use until 1952
when the line was closed by British Railways. It stood derelict on it's platform
in the fields until it was acquired by Mangapps.
1987 - The small GER signal box from Berney Arms, Norfolk was recovered by Mangapps
as a kit of parts. It became redundant in 1960 and was moved to the adjacent pub
garden. It is now operational at Mangapps.
1989 - Mangapps Museum was oppened to the public
1991 - The main building at Old Heath station was purchased by Mangapps. It was originally
from Laxfield, the northern terminus of the mid-Suffolk Light Railway. After closure
in 1952 it was used as a football pavilion at Bedfield near Framlingham. The other
building on the platform at Old Heath is a former GER Passenger Train Cattle Box
body built in 1891 and used from 1925 until about 1990 as a messroom and store at
Melton Station, Suffolk.
1994 - The first class waiting room, formerly the ground frame signal box from Billericay,
was moved to Mangapps after it became redundant. It was built by the LNER in 1937.
1996 - Mangapps Junction Signal Box was donated by the Science Museum. It was built
for the GER at Haddiscoe Junction, Norfolk, it became redundant in 1959 and was then
acquired by the Science Museum at South Kensington. It was dismantled and rebuilt
in the Transport Gallery in 1995.
2007 - The largest locomotive in the fleet, Brush class 47 No. 47579 was withdrawn
from mainline use and preserved.
Other acquisitions include:
the old carriage body, which is a Great Eastern Railway 2nd class 4 wheeler of 1863
rescued from Westleton, Suffolk.
The Midland Railway lamp hut from Westcliff on Sea Station.
The LNER Crossing Keeper’s hut from near Saxmundham, Suffolk.
The small GER hut next to the ground frame which formerly served as the signalman's
toilet at Edmondton Junction signal box.
The goods yard crane from Ruskington Station on the Great Northern and Great Eastern
Joint Line in Lincolnshire.
The loading gauge from Tilbury Riverside station.
The Museum also has the oldest surviving BR Class 03 0-6-0 diesel shunter, No 03018
(D2018) built in 1958.
Mangapps Railway Museum is open every Saturday & Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays
except November and January (25th December - 31st January).
Trains run on every museum open day, propelled in one direction and hauled in the
other by steam or diesel locomotives (see link below for details). Trains depart
from Mangapps station and travel ¾ mile to the end of the line then stop at Old Heath
station on the return journey where passengers can alight for the lineside walk.
Tickets include museum, lineside walk & train rides, group bookings are available.
(see link below for details).
The museum and line are owned and operated by the Jolly family assisted by a dedicated
staff of volunteers.