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Eastern Region Fitting Out Supper 2017

The Eastern Region Fitting Out Supper took place on 22nd April at Coldham Hall which is about half a mile down river from Brooms on the opposite bank. Seven boats moored outside and other members were ferried across by Brooms so that 33 people attended, including three from Brooms and two from ASAP Supplies who are based in Beccles. Everyone commented on the good service and food we enjoyed.


E Region Fitting Out supper and July Cruise



The Fitting Out Supper will once again be held at Coldham Hall on Saturday 22nd April. I have booked the whole restaurant and all of the moorings-first come first served. Broom Boats have kindly agreed to provide a water taxi for those coming by car or staying on their boats on their moorings, leaving at 6.30. The menu is attached to my last email so please contact the restaurant direct to place your orders and pay. Tel 01508 538366. I look forward to seeing you all soon. New members and smaller boats especially welcome. We are friendly and have at least one thing in common to talk about.

As previously mentioned Peter and Elaine Ward are running an East Coast Cruise. This will depart Brundall Saturday 15th July and return on the 29th, visiting Burnham, Ipswich, Wolverstone, Heybridge, Tollesbury, Brightlingsea and Woodbridge, not necessarily in that order. It will be limited to 6 boats, first come first served with a non-refundable deposit of £50 per boat. As usual everyone is responsible for his or her navigation. Please contact Peter to register. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07971 320211.


E Region Plans 2017

Here is a provisional plan for this year. There will no doubt be other events, eg trips to Southwold etc so if you would like to run one please let me know.

APRIL - The fitting out supper will be at Coldham Hall on the 22nd. We will have booked all the moorings and Broom Boats will provide a water taxi. More details to follow soon.

MAY - Broom Boats boatshow will be on the 20th, hoping for better weather this year and also to coincide with a general show taking place in Brundall at other sites. BOC will have a stand. There is no Horning boatshow this year.

JULY - The Broom Boats BBQ will be on the 8th or 29th, depending on the weather.

JULY/AUGUST - Peter and Elaine Ward have offered to run an East Coast Cruise.

AUGUST - Beccles Rally 26th and 27th. All moorings are booked by us and Jane Neale will allocate them. There is no need to contact the Yacht Station direct.

OCTOBER - The BOC AGM weekend will be at Dunston Hall on the Ipswich road 20th/22nd. As our region is hosting this event the committee would welcome any help you can offer and obviously a good turnout from E Region. The usual paperwork will go out in the Summer but I can say that the costs will be around £336 per couple for the full weekend, similar to last year. Broom Boats will provide lunch on the Saturday and plenty of staff on duty to answer queries. We could take members from outside the region for rides on our boats after lunch if they want. Keith Rowe is planning another of his  marvellous Norwich Walks as an alternative activity.

OCTOBER  - Laying Up Supper combined with Hallowe'en party at the Watersedge, Brammerton, to be run by Tracey Read.

DECEMBER - Christmas party at RNSYC on Saturday the 2nd. I am thinking there will be disco this time if enough people want one and this will add about £5 to the ticket price.

Visit to Somerleyton bridge

Most of us have, at times, suffered a delayed VHF reply from the Bridge operators at both Somerleyton and Reedham and we all have a bit of a moan about the delay.

In fact I raised a complaint about it with the Network Rail management.

To cut a longish story short on 21st November four Club members, - Keith Rowe, Geoff Eason, Andrew Beale and I, - were invited by the local Operations Manager for Network Rail, Adrian Webb, and Carl the duty signalman at Somerleyton to visit the Signal and Control box at the Somerleyton Swing Bridge. They provided a guided tour, showing us their domain, the work involved in operating the bridge and ensuring the safety of all users.

A few facts:

The bridge was built in 1905 to replace a previous single track bridge.

The bridge is manned 24/7 using a 3 watch system.

There are normally 50 train crossings in a 24 hour period, sometimes, due to summer specials, more than that.

In summer there are about 20 openings per day for river traffic.

The bridge takes about 5 minutes to open (or close) but can be “safety locked” when a train is on the line between Lowestoft or Reedham and Somerleyton. When the line is clear and the signalman has decided that it is safe to open the bridge the locking pins need to be unlocked, the bridge raised about 100mm to allow the swing. The swing is then activated. The windless motor started and speed controlled and, when the bridge is “OPEN”, stopped. If left to its own devices like all good windlasses it will continue to pull and the bridge will carry on to complete a 360º turn.

Closing the bridge is a reverse run, stopping at the right place to ensure that the bridge is in the correct position for the locking pins to engage.

The Signalman has overall control of the bridge, the local rail signals, all the unmanned crossing on the fields and marshes and is responsible for all aspects of safety within his area of control.

In the 90 minutes we were in the signal box, 3 trains passed over the bridge and they received at least 6 phone calls.  For each train there is a bell system with one ring for the bridge to accept the train and is answered by two rings from the signal box to the previous station.  The signal box must then send one bell ring to the next station and receive two rings in return to confirm all is clear for the train to proceed.  Whilst we were there we realised how much VHF channel 12 chatter is received giving details of all the Yarmouth port movements including pilot boats so the signal man needs a lot of concentration and often he has no option but to turn their VHF volume down.  This is one of the main reasons we often do not get an immediate response when we call up the bridges to request an opening.  They also told us all VHF radio traffic to the bridges is recorded.

We learned a lot during our time at Somerleyton Bridge.

Train drivers have their own comms system to the bridges.

At Somerleyton Tuesday is maintenance day.

There is a 1:80 gradient on the railway approach to the bridge.

They do have a set of Summer rails for the bridges but, due to cut backs these are no-longer used.

The Environment Agency stopped Network Rail from pumping river water on the bridge to keep the temperature and rail expansion down during hot weather. It may wash oil off the rails in to the river.

The duty signalman is quite a busy person and can’t always answer VHF as quickly as boaters think he should.

A suggested call up system would be:

1.       Call on VHF ch12 (max 3 calls)

         Call Signs are “Somerleyton Swing Bridge” and “Reedham Bridge”

2.       Then a phone call

         Somerleyton Bridge 01502 730510      Reedham Bridge 01603 675372

         If this fails

3.       make 3 blasts on the ships hooter.

And then from us boaters to them when you’re clear of the bridge a call on the VHF to say “Thank you”. It may not be in the voice procedure manual but it does work.

We suggested to Adrian Webb, the Operations Manager, that he might be able to persuade Network Rail to use another VHF channel for Bridge communications. They could for example use one of the intership channels. This would cut down the chatter from ch12 and perhaps make life a little easier for the duty signalman.

It goes almost without saying that the 4 visitors are now converts to the Signalman’s view point and won’t complain so much when a VHF call is not so promptly answered.




Eastern Region Parties

44 people attended the Christmas party on December 3rd at RN&SYC. It was good to have such turnout so this may become an annual event. Three members came in their boats, two by sea and many stayed overnight at the club.

The Laying Up Supper on November 9th attracted 22 people to enjoy the Taster Menu cooked by students at City College. An excellent evening organised by Carole and Geoff Eason.

On November 21st 4 members were privileged to have a visit to Somerleyton bridge to see behind the scenes. Many of us based on the Broads suffer from an apparent lack of curtesy by the swing bridges so it is interesting to hear the other side. Robert Middleton organised this and the group report is on the Eastern Region events page, or click HERE to go straight to the article. 

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