The Anonymous Widower

Charity Charter Visits Suffolk Hotspots

The title of this post is the same as that of the caption on a picture in Issue 851 of Rail Magazine.

I was intrigued that the charter appeared to visit Leiston station on the Aldeburgh Branch Line.

So I searched for Leiston station on the Internet and found this article on the East Anglian Daily Times, which is entitled Network Rail Improving Suffolk Line That Has No Regular Train Services.

It would appear that last Autumn, Network Rail improved the line. Reasons given in the article include.

  • It would be used again if Sizewell C is built.
  • It is occasionally used to stable Network Rail engineering trains during the day if they are working in the area at night.
  • Steam-hauled charters are also mentioned.

I looked at building a new station at Leiston in A Station For Leiston.

The charter service didn’t use Leiston station, because it has been converted to houses.

So it ran to the level crossing near the power station.

This Google Map shows the level crossing.

The area with two tracks was used for loading the nuclear flasks from Sizewell A, that used to be taken to Sellafield for reprocessing.

It would appear to be an ideal place to turn a train round, as if necessary the locomotive could be moved to the other end.

Perhaps, Network Rail store their engineering trains here!

Reopening The Aldeburgh Branch Line To Passenger Trains

Wikipedia says this about Sizewell C.

In October 2017, it was announced that the projected completion and first generation date of Sizewell C would be in 2031.

This could mean that the Aldeburgh Branch Line would be needed to transport workers and materials to the site, possibly as early as 2022-3.

In my view there are other reasons for reopening the line.

  • About ten thousand people live in the area and an hourly train service to Woodbridge and Ipswich might be a useful commuter and leisure service.
  • Work opportunities for some groups are thin on the ground.
  • The roads in the area need improvement.
  • Aldeburgh is a town that attracts a lot of visitors.

But I think, the biggest reason for reopening a service would be that an hourly Ipswich to Aldeburgh service, would mean that it might be possible to timetable a half-hourly service between Ipswich and Saxmundham calling at Westerfield, Woodbridge, Melton and Wickham Market.

This increase in service on the Southern section of the East Suffolk Line, might attract a lot of passengers going to and from Ipswich.

Greater Anglia have certainly got enough new Class 755 trains to run the service.

Conclusion

Thje Aldeburgh Branch Line works as an occasional branch line, but would it work as a regular commercial passenger service?

May 9, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

A Station For Leiston

The Aldeburgh Branch Line is still  intact, as far as Sizewell nuclear power station.

Past Sizewell, it would appear that the original route and track-bed is not obstructed and can be seen on the Google Maps all the way to Aldeburgh.

This Google Map shows the route, where it enters Aldeburgh.

Aldeburgh

 

The prominent road that runs diagonally across the map in a North-West/South-East direction is Saxmundham Road and it goes all the way to the sea.

Reaching to this road is the dark scar of the railway, which runs parallel to the coast. Aldeburgh station was somewhere, where the two features meet.

Sizewell C

If Sizewell C is built, then I could envisage sets of circumstances, which meant that the line was reopened to passengers, at least as far as Leiston station.

Providing a service on the line to Ipswich would not be a problem, once Ipswich station had been rebuilt with a new platform 0 and an extended platform 1, which I believe is necessary to provide better services to Lowestoft and Felixstowe.

But whether the service would generate sufficient traffic to be viable and profitable in the long term, would be very much open to doubt.

Doubling Frequency From Ipswich To Saxmundham

If we assume that the main East Suffolk Line has a one train per hour (tph) service between Ipswich and Lowestoft, I wonder if an Ipswich to Aldeburgh Branch Line service could be used to double the frequency at the Southern end of the East Suffolk Line.

Ipswich to Saxmundham currently takes thirty seven minutes., so on a crude estimate, Ipswich to Aldeburgh could certainly be done within the hour.

I suspect that this would mean that it would not be difficult to run the Aldeburgh Branch Line trains on a one tph basis to fit in between the Ipswich-Lowestoft trains.

As at least one platform would need to be built somewhere on the single-track branch to reverse the trains, it could be built at Leiston, Thorpeness or Aldeburgh provided the track went that far.

So by reinstating the Aldeburgh Branch Line and giving it an hourly service from Ipswich would also give Saxmundham to Ipswich a 2 tph service.

Leiston Station

This increase of frequency at the Southern end of the East Suffolk Line and the needs of any future nuclear power station at Sizewell, will be the only possible reasons that passenger services will resume on the Aldeburgh Branch Line.

If trains ventured onto the Aldeburgh Branch Line, surely they would call at Leiston station.

February 6, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 3 Comments