The Southwold Railway Trust

The Southwold Railway Trust have ambitious plans to revive the historic Waveney narrow gauge railway line.

Trust chairman John Bennett said previous objections had been taken on board with the hope that the new plans would prove an acceptable compromise.

The trust is also hoping that a planning bill currently going through Parliament will give the scheme a boost. Mr Bennett said his understanding was that infrastructure projects such as railways could be ruled on by a new planning commission designed to streamline the development process.

Mr Bennett said: “We haven’t got a timescale but we are keen on it and we still think there is support for it. By the summer the bill will probably become legislation, but until the bill is finalised we don’t know what it will say.”

He insisted the new railway would not have a negative impact, adding: “Because the track bed will be raised it will provide flood defences in some circumstances. The line itself can become a flood barrier.”

The trust’s proposals also include a second project to build a £250,000 Southwold engine shed museum with a replica working steam locomotive running on a 60m section of track. Organisers have already raised about £4,000.

Sketch Map of the route of the old Southwold Railway
click to enlarge

( Map created from a drawing by John Bennett)

The Southwold Railway was a 3ft gauge line running between Halesworth and Southwold in Suffolk, England, a distance of 9 miles. It opened in 1879 and closed in 1929.

The line is usually remembered for its long-chimneyed steam engines, long six-wheeled coaches and steady if unremarkable work over 50 years. Little currently remains of the line.

If you are an enthusiast, and would like more information about the Southwold Railway Trust, please visit their web site.