Word came my way (via notable railway explorer Paul Whitewick) that The Highways Agency's Historical Railway Estate were looking to demolish a bunch of former railway structures. One of those structures is very close to me - close enough to make a rather nice early morning walk. So, not very long ago, I wandered down to visit a pair of bridge abutments in Wiggenhall St. Mary Magdalen that are at risk of demolition in the very near future, to photograph them for posterity (all these pictures have a long-term home on Wikimedia Commons, in full resolution).
HRE calls these two bridge abutments MMR/2333. These used to carry trains from Watlington (previously Magdalen Road), where a branch line left the current Fen Line, to Wisbech. This line closed in 1968. As with many such closures, this one strikes me as rather short-sighted; while many of the smaller stations on the line certainly seemed pointless, one wonders how much less busy the A47 would be if one could hop on a train from King's Lynn to Wisbech today.
This is one of the abutments, which despite the overgrowth on the top looks to be in reasonable condition.
The one on the east side, less so. I could see why HRE would consider it an liability, and an unnecessary one.
As bonuses, because there were no photos of it on the Commons, there are the remnants of another bridge only a short while to the East of this structure:
This abutment was for a bridge that carried the above-mentioned Wisbech branch over the River Great Ouse. It is unclear when the bridge deck was removed. Just to the East of this structure is a glorious bridge, fully intact, but I didn't photograph it this time around.
There is a campaign group with a Twitter that is aiming to save some of these at-risk structures, especially the ones that have some hope of being repurposed for some alternative use (which MMR/2333 almost certainly does not).
Also, while on my way to MMR/2333, was something even I didn't know about after however many years I've been here: the remains of a spigot mortar emplacement!
Spigot mortars, in particular the Blacker Bombard, were fairly crude weapons to be used by the Home Guard in the event of a German invasion during World War II. I do not know where this one was originally sited; its current location would have been on a railway embankment that was levelled at some point after closure.
1 - "MMR" stands for "March to Magdalen Road", the latter being the name of Watlington station until 1989.