Grandad's Watton

The Famous Railway Hedge

The station enjoyed a short, new lease of life during the 1939/45 war because its proximity to R.A.F. Watton and army units made it an important distribution point for military equipment. During their stay in Watton the American Air Force extended the facilities by laying down new rails, points and hundreds of square yards of concrete. it will come as no surprise to anyone to know that this area was promptly renamed "Texas".

Things changed quickly after the war. The beloved steam engines were replaced by more efficient and economical diesel, but the steady advance of heavy road transport brought a dramatic reduction in freight traffic. Hopes of a brighter future flickered briefly when nationalisation resulted in the merger of the L.N.E.R. and all regional railways with the promise and expectation of better things to come for employees and customers alike. One railway employee, a retired policeman named Ernie Fagg thought that such a significant event deserved to be marked in a unique and spectacular way. There was a thick privet hedge run­ ning nearly the length of one of the station platforms and, into this hedge Ernie, highly skilled in topiary, cut out the words British WATTON Railways

Ernie Faggs Hedge

with a remarkable cut out shape of an engine at one end. This hedge was a feature of Watton station, much admired, much photographed, and it was kept in perfect condition because Ernie, for many years after he retired returned to cut and trim and care for his creation. Sadly, the hopes and dreams of a new future did not materialise. The last train passed over the points and through the gates, and the station was sold for factory development. The buildings, platforms, signal box and lines all vanished. And with them, as if it had never existed went Ernie Fagg's hedge.

Plaque at site of Railway Station

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