Gainsborough Line

Gainsborough Line

The Gainsborough Line is the marketing name of the Sudbury Branch Line, a single track railway line running through the rural area between Sudbury and Marks Tey in England. Connecting trains from Marks Tey station put London, Colchester and other destinations in East Anglia within easy reach. Prior to the Beeching Axe the line ran on to Cambridge, via Long Melford, Clare and Haverhill.


Opened throughout as the Stour Valley Railway on 9 August 1865, the line from Shelford to Sudbury closed on 6 March 1967.

The line was designated as a "Community Railway" [ [ Network Rail - Community Railways] ] by the Transport Minister in December 2006, and is part of the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership [ [ Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership] ] . The line is presently named after the painter Thomas Gainsborough who was born in Sudbury, and was previously named the Lovejoy Line, after the BBC television series filmed in the Sudbury area. All passenger services on the line are operated by National Express East Anglia, which runs an approximately hourly shuttle service seven days a week. The first and last trains of the day run from and to Colchester.

During July 2005 the line received around £3 million of investment, which saw around convert|5|mi|0 of old jointed track replaced with new continuous welded rail. August 2006 saw further investment, to replace around convert|6|mi|0 of track, leaving just the Chappel Viaduct and Lamarsh to Sudbury sections in need of modernisation. This work was completed in July 2007.

Unlike other branch lines in the area, such as the Braintree branch, the Gainsborough Line is not electrified and so trains are currently formed of diesel multiple units. Specifically, Class 156 on weekdays and Class 153 at the weekends.

The Suffolk County Council Public Transport Strategy of February 2006 proposed the creation of an additional station for the line, at Great Cornard, approximately convert|1|mi|0 from Sudbury station.

It was designated by the Department for Transport as a community rail line in November 2006.

Official posters appeared at all stations on the line shortly before the Summer 2008 timetable came in to effect on Sunday 18 May, advising travellers that the 1922 and 2008 services from Sudbury would be request stop at the intermediate statons.

Notable Sights

There is an impressive viaduct at Chappel, and the East Anglian Railway Museum is located alongside the station at Chappel & Wakes Colne.

The map has been produced using data from Trackmaps [ [ QUAIL Railway Track Diagrams by Trackmaps] ] .


External links

* [ Sudbury transport timetables]
* [ Photo gallery] by Sudbury Branch Line Rail Users Association

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