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Southwold Railway

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by Bar Side, May 7, 2012.

  1. Hando

    Hando New Member

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    From chatting with one of the HSNGRS members over Instagram earlier this year they seem to be amicable with the SRT.

    Although, there is the awkward situation where each alternate station site is owned by a different organisation (except for Walberswick which neither group owns). The HSNGRS owns the Halesworth and Blythburgh sites, the SRT owns the Wenhaston and Southwold sites. This could cause issues regarding the possible (?) construction of the full route in future.
     
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  2. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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    Train leapfrog!!

    I am glad they have cordial relations, I am looking forward to sitting in the dining car with a pint of adnams watching Blythborough church go past...
     
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  3. Hicks19862

    Hicks19862 Member

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    Getting over or under the A12 will certainly be a challenge for the groups
     
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  4. Johann Marsbar

    Johann Marsbar Well-Known Member

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    The Halesworth site (ie the old loco shed area) would seem to fall under the ownership/remit of the Halesworth Millenium Green Trust rather than the HSNGRS.
    https://millenniumgreen.halesworth.net/
    Having said that, the HMGT are obviously very pro-railway having a presence there as can be seen with what has been rebuilt on their land over the last couple of years.
     
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  5. Hando

    Hando New Member

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    Yes you are right, the HMGT are the owners of the trackbed at Halesworth. Whilst the new track that has been constructed there was by the HSNGRS (https://twitter.com/suffolksnaps/status/1190665274892193795)
     
  6. Hando

    Hando New Member

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    I reckon that any chance of there being a long railway line in the near future will have to end at Blythburgh for the time being, seeing that not only is there that problem, but also the fact that the trackbed from there to Southwold is now a footpath.
     
  7. Hicks19862

    Hicks19862 Member

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    A reopened line from the A12 at Blythburgh to Southwold could maybe work as a park and ride scheme for visitors to Southwold.

    Though that wouldn’t convince all Southwold residents.

    Though Southwold depends on tourists, I get the impression it doesn’t want too many tourists. And only the ones that will bring lots of money.
     
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  8. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    For some strange reason, this conjures up the Penrith Tearoom scene in "Withnail and I"o_O
     
  9. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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    The inland end would fit better with the idea of drawing tourists away from honeypots.

    Maybe they should start from each end and do a golden turnip moment over the main road...
     
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  10. Hando

    Hando New Member

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    A bit of news from Narrow Gauge World December 2020: the HTSNGRS is looking for a trackbed of their own on the SR. As mentioned, they don't own the trackbed at Halesworth, that's under the control of Halesworth Millennium Green and I'm not sure if they own the Blythburgh station site, where they certainly have a presence.

    The HSNGRS also has sadly failed to win a bid on Hudswell Clarke 0-4-0st Handyman, which was in the NRM's disposal list. The NRM hasn't shared why they declined to give the loco to the HSNGRS, but the lack of trackbed might be something to do with it, but I digress.
     
  11. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm, bad news about the engine, but going off and looking for trackbed seems a bit of a worry to me. The last thing you want is a bidding war between societies.

    Also, what are they going to do with it when they've got it?
    If they don't develop it, they'll be accused of time-wasting, if they do develop it (at the expense of Halesworth) they look like flitters and unreliable partners.

    Never mind the theoretical costs bunfight on the gcr, three land-owners and two railways owners will have lawyers blowing the dust off their 19thC precedents. (Someone will have them, lawyers never throw stuff away)
     
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  12. James Hewett

    James Hewett New Member

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    Bikermike - understand all you have said here. Re your "trackbed" comment - HSR needs a base it owns. Doesn't have to be trackbed (or even near it, like SRT's Steamworks site) but it would obviously be best if it was. If SRT were actively looking for the same thing, obviously that'd be silly - but they have their hands more than full in Southwold, with several years' work required to make that acre of industrial land into a quality heritage tourist attraction (and Covid has not helped). SRT's stated aim is then to try for the Harbour Line (although as all that land is owned by the Common Trust, who are fanatically opposed to any railway restoration, it seems a bit of a forlorn hope), rather than any attempt to rebuild the main line.
    Meanwhile, if by any chance any section of trackbed were to come up, someone needs to be ready to take that on immediately: the model is Exmoor Associates, who have been pretty successful. In answer to your query about what would be done with it - first clear it, then add a footpath/heritage fencing, and then lay track. Doesn't matter if it can't be used for a while - it'll be there - and gradually bit by bit, local people will begin to realise that an eleven-foot strip with a three-foot railway will not destroy their countryside and quality of life. Only actually seeing it in place will begin to persuade some people here that it's not a combination of HS2 and Disneyland!
    Halesworth is a major problem, as the terminus is gone for ever, and any such site would need to be close to the town centre (to maximise community benefit), and have potential access to the original trackbed - that combination is a very tall order indeed.
    HSR have no current right to restore the railway as a working operation anywhere in Halesworth - but at least there is substantial support there for the concept - something not true at all at the Southwold end (nor at Wenhaston). There has been no attempted planning application for the route since 2003 (and even then it was not on any part of the trackbed, and ignored the Blythburgh-to-Halesworth section), while every one of the (many) applications - plus an appeal - in Wenhaston failed miserably.
    HSR's work at Blythburgh (where Phase I of the station goods shed restoration is now complete) is strictly limited, done on behalf of the landowner, entirely funded by one Society member, and subject to approval from the Parish. There are however hopes there to do more.
    Many comments have referenced the awkward A12 crossing - with the Halesworth terminus, that's the worst civil engineering (and political) problem on the entire route. It's solvable, like everything else (as can be seen from the WHR works undertaken by FR) with enough hard cash and political support - but that, it seems to us, is a probem for a new generation.
     
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  13. Bikermike

    Bikermike Well-Known Member

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    Gosh! Thank you for the thoughtful and considered reply.

    I hoe that you can manage to make things happen there. Like all good north Londoners, we do love Southwold, and will be back again when we can.

    We've done a bit inland (Blythborough and Sutton Hoo being the main ones), but we'll visit any emanation of the old Southwold railway if it gets going. Good luck to all of you, and I look forward to the day when it all comes together.
     
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  14. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

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    If I understand it correctly, the original SR had no brake vans? In mixed trains clearly the brake composite acted in this capacity. But what was used in all freight trains? I think there were some all freights, at least on the harbour branch. Were the trains just so slow that no brake van was needed?
     
  15. Wenlock

    Wenlock Well-Known Member Friend

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    Wouldn't be surprised if no brake was used at all. That does appear to have been the practice on KESR mixed trains.
     
  16. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Nowadays, we tend to think of brake vans as being necessary for safety reasons. However, although not unknown, they were fairly rare things on industrial railways, even those with long lines and steep gradients.
     
  17. RLinkinS

    RLinkinS Member

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    Charlie Kentley lived in the bungalow next to Rolvenden Station on the KESR. He told me that the curve at the bottom of Tenterden bank had the super elevation set the wrong way to throw any runaway off before they got to the crossing

    Sent from my SM-A105FN using Tapatalk
     
  18. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    That's an interesting variation on a catch point!
     
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  19. RLinkinS

    RLinkinS Member

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    Very low maintenance.

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  20. James Hewett

    James Hewett New Member

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    Friends - a small update on this topic - on Tuesday March 6th a team of (socially distanced) Halesworth to Southwold Railway Society volunteers completed the current track project at The Folly, Halesworth Millennium Green. The last two (well - the last two for now!) panels of track were laid down on the second (and never used) bridge on the main line leading to the East Suffolk Line 'Junction'. While one track panel on the first bridge uses genuine SR rails and fittings, these two have identical 30lb rails sourced from Derbyshire, and suitable discreet fittings (track screws and nibless clips) from GB Rail of Swansea - with slightly beefed-up sleepers, now 6" x 4", the extra thickness being invisible. So, for the first time since 1941, there is a decent length of three-foot-gauge track back on the line (although as can be seen, we need more ballast and a joint-tweak - getting anything there is a massive logistical problem) - in this case 2 chains and 3 rods (OK, it's only about one hundredth of the distance to Blythburgh - our current ambition - but it's a start). All visitors to the worksite were very positive indeed.

    Next the Society will move south to the locomotive shed site, where we have already laid down rails each side of the inspection and ashing-out pits and cosmetically restored the chain pump and well platform - these rails will be extended to form the Quarry Junction point, using some original components - and a replica SR wagon (already made, on an ironstone underframe) will be displayed on it. So the Society has already Folly March 6 2021 1.JPG BB Feb 11 2021 1 corrected.jpg Folly March 6 2021 2.JPG Folly Dec 20 2020 1.jpg laid track in three places on the original trackbed - the two here, and one at Bythburgh Station, where the Goods Shed project is complete.
    James Hewett, Co-Chairman of the Society
     

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