Days Gone By - Reliving the golden age of steam trains in Ipswich

A line of freight wagons passing through Haughley Junction

A line of freight wagons passing through Haughley Junction

Ipswich train Station was recently the focus of Days Gone By, with photographs showing how the area has evolved over the 157 years since the station opened on this site.

A pair of steam locomotives head a train at Ipswich station in an undated photograph taken from near

A pair of steam locomotives head a train at Ipswich station in an undated photograph taken from near the entrance to the tunnel through Stoke Hill

Reader John Alborough, of Syleham, has told us about his father’s time working at the station as a signalman during the days of steam locomotives pulling the trains.

Ipswich station from near the entrance to the tunnel on the main Ipswich to London line in the 1950s

Ipswich station from near the entrance to the tunnel on the main Ipswich to London line in the 1950s

He said: “The photo shows Ipswich Station taken from the tunnel. Around this time my late father, Cecil Alborough, was signalman in the ‘box’ pictured. My attention was drawn to the rather unusual sight of a Britannia class locomotive sitting in the small “dock siding”.

Locomotive 70010 Owen Glendower at Colchester Station

Locomotive 70010 Owen Glendower at Colchester Station

“The engine is 70010 Owen Glendower. The two white discs indicate it was either taken off an express passenger train, or was ready as “light engine”, i.e. ready to move without a train.

Britannia class locomotive number 70011 ÒHotspurÓ at Ipswich Station.

Britannia class locomotive number 70011 ÒHotspurÓ at Ipswich Station.

“As Ipswich was not generally a location for Britannia class engines to wait for work, perhaps we shall never know just why it was left sitting at Ipswich. Possibly it may have failed in service. Was the train in platform two the train from which it was just removed, as the much smaller locomotive is attached to take the train over to London. Note it has the same head code (lamps rather than discs).

The Norfolkman at a busy Ipswich Station pulled by locomotive John Bunyan

The Norfolkman at a busy Ipswich Station pulled by locomotive John Bunyan

“It also looks like the driver or fireman is down by the coupling of the coaches as he clearly has a “grease cap” worn by them at the time.

A Norfolk Railway Society special train at Mellis Junction.

A Norfolk Railway Society special train at Mellis Junction.

“My father was a union man and, understandably, was keen to see no diminution of work. It was planned that the “dock siding” would be taken out of use. It could only hold one loco and it was inconveniently signalled for the main line. My father did all he could to avoid that happening by placing a loco in there whenever he could, thus demonstrating that the siding was essential! Did he put Owen Glendower in there I wonder?

A picture taken at Brockford soon before the line closed in 1952.

A picture taken at Brockford soon before the line closed in 1952.

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“Of course, he eventually lost the battle as I think the management “rumbled” him, but he at least kept it in use for a few years longer!”


The location of this photograph is unknown, but locomotive 62612 worked out of Ipswich. It was buil

The location of this photograph is unknown, but locomotive 62612 worked out of Ipswich. It was built in 1923 and was disposed of in January 1960. Can you tell us more?

Also, a fascinating set of photographs have come from Dorothy Martin featuring the days of steam power in our region. They feature main and branch lines plus the Mid Suffolk Light railway.

The branch line to Snape opened in 1859 and was used for freight only. This photograph taken at Snap

The branch line to Snape opened in 1859 and was used for freight only. This photograph taken at Snape on September 30, 1956, is of a special train for rail enthusiasts, pulled by locomotive 62797. The line closed in March 1960.

Steam train enthusiasts at Ipswich Station for a visit of a locomotive. This undated photograph appe

Steam train enthusiasts at Ipswich Station for a visit of a locomotive. This undated photograph appears to be from around 1970

The last run of the Mid Suffolk Light Railway on July 26, 1952, saw a send off from Haughley from th

The last run of the Mid Suffolk Light Railway on July 26, 1952, saw a send off from Haughley from this group in Edwardian costume.

The Mid Suffolk Light Railway The Middy photographed at Laxfield in 1952

The Mid Suffolk Light Railway The Middy photographed at Laxfield in 1952

This photo shows the Mid Suffolk Light Railway “The Middy” which first carried passengers on September 29, 1908, on a line between Haughley and Laxfield until closure on July 26, 1952.

It was taken at Laxfield in 1952. The Mid Suffolk Light Railway Museum now operates from Brockford Station, Hall Lane, Wetheringsett. A section of the railway at Brockford has been recreated. In 2012 the MSLR was awarded the Heritage Railway Association’s Interpretation Award. The museum runs regular steam trains.

Can you can tell us more about these photographs taken 60 years or more ago? Email David Kindred with your memories