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The Mid-Suffolk Light Railway Company

Great Britain's railway network was begun in earnest in the early years of the 19th century, and by the middle of Queen Victoria's reign was almost complete. Parts of the country were passed by, and there was great depression in rural areas such as high Suffolk. To help ease the problems, the Light Railways Act of 1896 allowed new lines to be built at minimal cost. The Mid-Suffolk was one such scheme.

An ambitious project, it aimed to link Haughley Junction, on the main Norwich - Ipswich line, with Halesworth, on the East Suffolk. Finance proved difficult, and the line opened for passengers, for only part of the distance, in 1908. The "Middy" had already gone into receivership!

Taken over by the LNER in 1924 and British Railways in 1948, it gave good service to its agricultural communities for nearly 50 years, closing in 1952, well before Dr Beeching. Track was quickly lifted, and most traces soon vanished.

Renaissance

Nearly 40 years after it closed, a group of enthusiasts formed a Company to recreate the Middy on the site of Brockford station, now the corner of a large field.

As far as we know, there are no coaches or locomotives of the Mid-Suffolk Light Railway still in existence. However, the Company intends to recreate typical scenes from the Middy's past by using restored coaches and wagons that would have run on its bigger neighbour, the Great Eastern Railway.

Whats's On In 2002

Steam on the Middy

2002 marks the centenary of the Middy arriving in the parish of Wetheringsett where our museum is. It is also the 50th anniversary of the closure of the line. In July we are holding a series of events to commemorate these occasions.

Weekend 6th & 7th July

There will be an Edwardian theme to this weekend in keeping with the centenary. The one surviving J15 will be visiting from North Norfolk Railway and will be in steam. Rides will be available, bands playing and a period layout operating.

Sunday 14th July

The Middy's first passenger was Lord Kitchener! A re-enactment of his visit will happen today which will again have an Edwardian theme. The J15 will still be in steam to carry you up and down our line.

Weekend 26th, 27th & 28th July

The 50th anniversary of the closure will see a 50s theme. It ought to be more sombre but we will be providing good entertainment. The J15 will masquerade as its late sister 65447, which pulled the last train, and some of the crew from that run will be with us, rides are available. 50 years on and we are running on the Middy again for the first time in the only Railway Museum in Suffolk - we look forward to your company. The J15 is in the late stages of restoration so we have an LNER Y7 in reserve just in case. 19th century coaches will form the train.

Opening Times

Normal opening times are on Sundays and Bank Holidays between Easter and October plus Wednesdays during August. All opening days including the special events are from 11am until 5pm.

Admission prices for the special events are 5 per adult 2.50 per child and family tickets are available. These prices include a ride on the train. On the ordinary opening days, admission is 1.50 per adult and 50p per child.

What to See and Do

Included in the attractions already at Brockford station are:

  • Original Middy buildings from Wilby, Brockford, Haughley and Mendlesham, almost all fully restored
  • A Hudswell Clarke steam locomotive, and Great Eastern coaches
  • Displays of photos, artifacts and other memorabilia
  • Great Eastern refreshment coach; souvenir and book shop
  • Trackbed walk & picnic area

Please Join Us

We are Suffolk's only Railway Museum - so why not join us? There is always plenty of interesting and challenging work to be done, whether on the line, helping operate the museum or simply helping to spread the word. Whatever your skills.

The Middy Museum is operated by the modern Mid Suffolk Light Railway Company, which welcomes new members.

Please send for details to the :

Membership Secretary, MSLR Co.
Brockford Station,
Wetheringsett,
Stowmarket, Suffolk 1P14 5PW

Alternatively you can call in at Brockford station any day that it is open, or phone 01449 766899.

The Company's Aims

  • the creation of a museum of a typical Middy station and its environs
  • the restoration of part of the route as a working railway
  • the preservation of artifacts, memorabilia, recollections and reminiscences of the railway
  • the stimulation of educational and historic interest in the railway
  • to ensure a long term future for the museum

How to Get There

The museum is just off the main Ipswich to Norwich road (A140), in sight of the Mendlesham TV mast, and is clearly signed.

BY CAR:
From the Ipswich direction, follow signs at the "Park Green" turning on the right. Turn left at the next T-junction. The museum will come into view on the right after about a mile.

From the Norwich direction, go through Brockford village and follow signs at the "Park Green" turning on the left, then as above.

BY BUS:
Services operate from Ipswich and Diss on summer Sundays and Bank Holidays. Call 01473 583358 for details.

Eastern Counties operates a Norwich-Diss-Ipswich service along the A140 on weekdays: ¼ mile walk to Brockford Station. Tel 01473 253734.