It is hoped that initial development will be carried out in an area where no road crossings and public paths exist enabling the Central Suffolk Railway to become operational and revenue earning in the shortest possible time.
Future development of the line will be carried out under the terms agreed by a Transport and Works Act which must have approval granted by HM Government before any extensive works are commenced.
Where possible the railway will run along the original course of the line from Haughley Station in the west, where it connected to the main Ipswich, Norwich line and the Bury St. Edmund’s line through to Cratfield and Laxfield in the east, where it was eventually terminated in sidings at Gorams Mill, though the line was allowed to stay in place to Cratfield for a number of years.
We will pursue the opportunity upon completion of the line to Laxfield to extend the Central Suffolk Railway to its intended destination of Halesworth along the proposed northern approach route, if possible, in accordance with the original plans.
Development will be carried out in a number of agreed stages, each stage having funding and resources in place prior to its commencement.
Currently the following stages have been agreed by the directors:
Stage 1: Will be the West Development connecting a short length of track from Mendlesham Ford to Buce’s Cutting. Once completed and operational this section will then be developed westwards, to its destination at Haughley, and will include both Mendlesham and Haughley Junction stations.
Stage 2: Will be the East Development extending the line from Buce’s Cutting to Aspall, Kenton and beyond.
Central Suffolk Railway Co. aim will develop the track from the Mendlesham area which is only 1 mile from the A140, the main Ipswich Norwich corridor . This would attract visitors to and from the current Mid Suffolk Railway Museum at Wetheringsett-cum-Brockford, which is less than 1 mile from the intended start point of the proposed Mendlesham Station site for the Central Suffolk Railway.
Mendlesham has a population in excess of 2000 people and is well served by a long distance cycle way, local footpaths and by bus routes connecting Diss, Norfolk, with Stowmarket, and Ipswich, Suffolk.
Stage 1 Phase 1 Mendlesham Ford:
With the possible loss of the original Mendlesham Station site through re-development, an alternative site for Mendlesham Station at the Mendlesham Ford, has been identified on a section of old trackbed to the south east of Mendlesham.
This site would be suitable for the development of the Mendlesham Station site and would make a good base for the development of the line running east as far as Buce’s Cutting for the immediate future, providing CSR with an operational base of some 800 yards of track if the land could be acquired.
The line could be developed to the west towards the station site at Haughley (TM 042623) after the initial development at Mendlesham Ford using an alternative track alignment.
The location is accessible for deliveries of material from the A140 without the need for vehicles or visitors to go through Mendlesham village. Its location just south of the centre of the village is also located on the connecting bus routes.
Stage 1 Phase 2 Mendlesham Track Development West:
The West track development will push the track bed forward from its start point at Mendlesham Ford to Haughley Junction.
All minor and unclassified roads will require level crossings to be installed for vehicles and foot crossings for footpaths and bridleways. Farm or agricultural crossings will be provided where agreed.
As part of the lines safety systems, we aim to install a train sensing system to activate signals and warning lights as required.
Fig 2 Created from Google EarthTrack development at Haughley Station is limited by the operations of CEMEX who currently operate on the site of the original transfer sidings. The last remaining section of the original Great Eastern station building is currently occupied by a local building company. There are no remains of the original Haughley terminus of the Mid-Suffolk Light Railway.
The development of the original station and siding locations has been looked at at in great detail, as has the route of the line via Haughley bank and the Haugh Lane bridge approach.
Stage 2 Phase 1 East Track Development from Buce’s Cutting:
This will necessitate the re-excavation of Buce’s cutting and the building of a bridge to carry the A140 Pye Road over the new railway. This is a major project requiring considerable funds.
Included in this stage is the probability that the Middy Branch Line may need to cross the Mid Suffolk Railway Museum’s demonstration line near Brockford Station. The possibility of allowing a slip from the demonstration line at Brockford Station onto the Middy Branch Line is included in our plans.
There are currently no plans to re-develop The branch to Debenham. This branch from Kenton to Westerfield was originally abandoned before the line was completed and was only completed as far as Debenham for freight traffic.
Wildlife: Areas will be developed where possible within the track development for Stage 1, Phases 1, 2, and 3 which is some 4½ miles in length and 8 yards wide. This area would add to the existing wildlife habitats and would create a wildlife corridor totalling 15 acres, in this intensively farmed area, with areas of managed planting of native trees and shrubs.
Fauna: Provision in the track design will cater for animal movement. We aim to work with wildlife organisations to protect local wildlife corridors and movement zones.
The planting and maintenance of native species and the management of this corridor in a sympathetic and environmentally friendly way would be carried out with advice being sought from appropriate organisations.
Long Term Aims:
From the company’s inception our long term aims have been to:
Preserve the existing available route of the Mid Suffolk Light Railway from Haughley to Cratfield by purchasing the land on which the route was originally laid.
To provide a major railway tourist attraction for Mid Suffolk based upon the original Mid Suffolk Light Railway, its trains and its buildings and its historic reputation.
To grow the company and generate income to further develop the railway whilst supporting approved charity organisations in the immediate area.
To develop and run the line in a safe and economic manner following the rules and guidelines published by the Heritage Rail Association, The Office of Road and Rail, and National Rail.