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
failed to develop and the station had always been little used
other than serving the nearby golf course.
|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
the works had its own Aveling & Porter shunter.
|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
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:
Leiston & Aldeburgh