Station Name: LEISTON

[Source: Nick Catford & Chris Amour]

Date opened: 1.6.1859
Location: On the west side of Station Road (B1122)
Company on opening: East Suffolk Railway
Date closed to passengers: 12.9.1966
Date closed completely: 12.9.1966
Company on closing: British Railways (Eastern Region)
Present state: The station buildings and platform are still extant. The track through the station is still in use carrying spent nuclear fuel from the power station at Sizewell.
County: Suffolk
OS Grid Ref: TM443629
Date of visit: June 1987 & August 1990

Notes: BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ALDEBURGH BRANCH The Aldeburgh branch measured 8.5 miles in length from Saxmundham on the East Suffolk main line. It was opened by the East Suffolk Railway to initially serve only Leiston (4.5 miles) on 1 June 1859. The same year, authority was granted to extend the line to the fishing port of Aldeburgh, opening on 12 August 1860. The modest single platform terminus was provided with an overall roof.

A third station serving the resort of Thorpeness was opened a few days before the start of WW1. The resort had been publicised by Peter Pan's creator John Barrie and like so many others in East Anglia seemed to have a promising future. Provision was very modest, with three obsolete Great Eastern passenger coaches adapted for the usual station functions and so it
remained until closure.

Steam trains served the Saxmundham - Aldeburgh line, but when DMU's took over on 10 June 1956, journeys were extended to begin and terminate at Ipswich. Other attempts were made to increase traffic on the branch including visits from the 'Eastern Belle', a train of Pullman cars which ran from Liverpool Street to selected resorts giving a cheap luxury service.

Aldeburgh lost its goods service on 30 November 1959. Thorpeness station was downgraded to an unstaffed halt in 1962. The
resort failed to develop and the station had always been little used other than serving the nearby golf course.

The construction of the Sizewell 'A' nuclear power station, which opened in 1966, allowed a 5 year stay of execution, but despite economies such as paytrains, the line closed to passengers on 12 September 1966. A siding to Richard Garrett Ltd. in Leiston was also closed at the same time. The company manufactured farm and road transport vehicles and parts for Beyer
Peacock locomotives; the works had its own Aveling & Porter shunter.

On closure, a siding and gantry crane were constructed 1 mile east of Leiston to enable spent nuclear fuel to be safely taken away for reprocessing. This line is still in use, but beyond this point the track has been lifted.

For further reading see: Branch Lines to Felixtowe and Aldeburgh by Richard Adderson & Graham Kenworthy - Middleton Press. Tickets from Brian Halford, route map drawn by Alan Young.

To see the other stations on the Aldeburgh branch click on the station name: Thorpeness & Aldeburgh

Leiston Station early 20th C.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Leiston Station in August 1990
hoto by Nick Catford

Staff 'road learning' at Leiston - 12.5.2005
Photo from web site









Click on thumbnail to enlarge




[Source: Nick Catford & Chris Amour]

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