Railway

NOTE: There is no longer a Railway in Aldeburgh

east-suffolk-railway

East Suffolk Railway Share Invitation Header

The four and a half mile East Suffolk Railway single branch line from Saxmundham to Leiston was opened on 1 June 1859. Plans for a four mile extension to Aldborough had been lodged with the Board of Trade by 30 November 1858.  The extension and terminus station were opened on 12 April 1860.

The East Suffolk Railway was initially operated by Eastern Counties Railways which merged with other companies in 1862 to form the Great Eastern Railway. They intended to continue the line from Aldeburgh station to Slaughden and to link the line to the proposed Aldeburgh Pier but neither materialised.

In 1923, the London and North Eastern Railway took over operation of services.

last-steam-train

Last Steam Train from Aldeburgh to Liverpool Street Station. Image courtesy of Pamela Smith.

Accidents

Friday 5 October 1883: As the 7.5 a.m. up train was leaving Aldeburgh Station, the engine left the metals at the points near the ticket platform. Read more

Saturday 6 October 1883: The 5.22 p.m. train from Saxmundham, due at Aldeburgh at 5.45 p.m., and composed of tank engine No. 25, one composite carriage, two third class carriages, and the guard’s break-van, with about 28 passengers on board approached Aldeburgh Station too fast. The guard’s van skidded under full break, with fire flying from the wheels. The train, with apparently undiminished speed, dashed through the arcade, past the station, and, colliding with the spare composite carriage standing near the buffer stops, drove it and the massive buffer stops quite across the road, and within a few inches of the low wall fronting York Villas. Read more

25 July 1887: A young fellow, Knights, was injured in an accident while shunting at the Railway Station. Read more

Also see the ‘Last Train from Aldeburgh’ film.

Railway Employees at Aldeburgh

Walter I Allen – station master at Aldeburgh

Walter Barnes – passenger guard, lived at 17 Fawcett Road,

Monty Baskett – relief signalman at Aldeburgh

Sidney R Beales – clerk

Michael Beamish – signalman at Aldeburgh

William H ‘Billy’ Botterill – porter

Walter H Branch – guard (retired)

George Fillerton – guard (retired)

Hubert Havers – signalman at Aldeburgh

James Knights  – signalman at Aldeburgh station; started at Aldeburgh in 1912 with the Great Eastern Railway; break for active service; returned to Aldeburgh station in 1918;  transferred to the London North Eastern Railway in 1923 and British Railways in 1947; retired 10 April 1957 … [information courtesy of his grandson Ian Knights]

William A Marjoram – guard

William Moutell – engine driver, lived at 97 Saxmundham Road

Frank Partridge – signalman at Aldeburgh

Tony Spatchett – relief signalman at Aldeburgh

Frederick Thirkettle – engine driver, lived at 3 Fairfield Terrace

Henry Vale – signalman at Aldeburgh

William H Wright – guard, lived at 30 Park Road

 

Please note that the information shown here has been obtained from various sources including newspaper articles and discussions with local residents, family members etc. Please therefore accept that there may be errors and omissions and if you can add to, or correct any details shown here, please

 

If you know of any other Aldeburgh men employed by the railway, or men from elsewhere who worked there, please contact us.

 

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George Henry Southgate

Another casualty of WW1 was George Henry SOUTHGATE who worked as a porter at Aldeburgh for the Great Eastern Railway, originally joining them at his home town of Woodbridge in February 1912.

He enlisted with the Suffolk Regiment, 4th Battalion in June 1915 as Private 3577.

He was killed in action on 18 August 1916 aged 22 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

1883: Accident on the Great Eastern Railway at Aldeburgh Station

The 5.22 p.m. train from Saxmundham to Aldeburgh, due at Aldeburgh at 5.45 p.m., and composed of tank engine No. 25, one composite carriage, two third class carriages, and the guard’s break-van, left Leiston on Saturday at the advertised time with about 28 passengers.

As the train ran into Aldeburgh Station several of the passengers remarked that they appeared to be going too fast, and that no whistle was sounded. Persons near the station also noted this fact, and saw the guard’s van skidding under full break, and fire flying from the wheels. Just through the arcade which covers the station a spare composite carriage was standing near the buffer stops, adjoining the fence and roadway.

The train, with apparently undiminished speed, dashed through the arcade, past the station, and, colliding with the spare carriage, drove it and the massive buffer stops quite across the road, and within a few inches of the low wall fronting York Villas, the buffers of the carriage being, strange to say, within about four feet of the front door of the house where the regular engine driver lives. The engine itself was partly buried under the end of the carriage, and went some feet into the roadway, whilst the following carriage marvellously escaped telescoping, being merely buffer-locked.

The passengers fortunately escaped with a slight shaking, but a pumper named Fryer, who was riding on the engine, is said to be somewhat injured. The train was run by a certificated fireman named Hughes, who, together with his fireman, states that the break was applied at the proper time, but that it failed to act. Hughes is suspended pending an inquiry into the matter.

A somewhat remarkable escape occurred in connection with the accident. Just before the spare carriage was forced through the fence, two little girls were looking through at the approaching train, and the fence in falling arched over them quite close to the carriage. One of the girls was for the moment unable to extricate herself, but the other pluckily caught hold of her sister’s arm and fairly hauled her out, neither of them appearing very seriously alarmed.

The highway being completely blocked, it was necessary to speedily clear a crossing for road traffic elsewhere, and this was soon done by Mr. Taylor, the stationmaster, who had previously wired to Ipswich for a breakdown train and gang. Meantime, about eight passengers wanting to go by the 7.0 p.m. were forwarded on to Leiston by Mr. Ball’s ‘bus and other conveyances.

The break-down train and gang arrived at 9.15 p.m. in charge of Mr. J. Flower, district superintendent, who was also accompanied by Mr. Johnstone, district engineer, and Mr. Robinson, locomotive district superintendent. Soon all was activity, and by the aid of two very ingeniously constructed camp-fires, the gang proceeded to remove the obstruction from the highway, and to re-place the engine and carriage upon the metals. This was, of course, a work of time, but the quiet energy of the men, under the able supervision of Mr. Flower and the other officials, shewed that even greater difficulties might be surmounted if necessary. Crowds of people were present watching the proceedings with considerable interest, and many of them stayed till the small hours of the morning. The engine was got on the rails about 3.0 a.m. and placed in the shed ready for work again yesterday (Monday), being found to have sustained little or no injury. The highway was cleared at 4.0 a.m., and at 5.30 a.m. the breakdown train and gang, in charge of Mr. Flower, returned to Ipswich.

The Ipswich Journal, Tuesday 9 October 1883

1883: Off the Rails

Yesterday (Friday) morning, as the 7.5 a.m. up train was leaving Aldeburgh Station, the engine left the metals at the points near the ticket platform. Fortunately no great velocity had been attained, so that the damage done was merely the disarrangement of the permanent way. It, however, took four hours’ hard work, with all available help, to put the “iron horse” on his road again.

The Ipswich Journal, Saturday 6 October 1883

1883: Aldeburgh – The Great Eastern Railway and the Public

The excellent train service of this Company has of late given universal satisfaction. This month, however, the 7.5 a.m. (branch) up, and the 8.5 a.m. ditto down trains, were advertised to run only on Mondays. One gentleman of the district, not to be done, wired at once to the officials as Liverpool-street, with the result that both trains were ordered to run as usual on the Tuesday morning.

OFF THE RAILS. – Yesterday (Friday) morning, as the 7.5 a.m. up train was leaving Aldeburgh Station, the engine left the metals at the points near the ticket platform. Fortunately no great velocity had been attained, so that the damage done was merely the disarrangement of the permanent way. It, however, took four hours’ hard work, with all available help, to put the “iron horse” on his road again.

The Ipswich Journal, Saturday 6 October 1883