Steam regains a foothold in Southwold

THE Southwold Railway Trust has bought a one-acre site to develop a steam centre in the Suffolk town.

The former gasworks site in Blyth Road lies near the original terminus of the legendary 3ft gauge line, and alongside the old formation.

Southwold Railway Trust volunteers stand at the entrance to the site of the proposed Steam Works project. SRT

Last year, the trust obtained planning permission for a visitor centre, railway and nature reserve on the site, which is to be redeveloped under the Steam Works banner.

The project includes a 1550 sq ft visitor centre building with cafe, shop, toilets, museum and a stock and restoration shed, along with 22 chains of track of two gauges, including a run parallel and close to the site of the original line as it approached Southwold station.

It includes a 7¼ inch gauge miniature railway running around the site which will be set in a landscaped nature reserve containing ponds, wild flower meadow and woodland.

The purchase of the site was completed on March 30, but has all but exhausted the trust’s funds, and so an appeal for more donations has been made.

Trust chairman James Hewett said: “The trust already has full planning permission to build 22-chains of track (in two or more gauges) on this land, which is directly adjacent to the Southwold Railway’s 1879 trackbed, a popular walk and cycle way to the River Blyth bridge.

“Naturally, there are several conditions to fulfil with regard to planning, so we hope that our supporters will bear with us while we deal with those. The site is only a short way to the west of the original Southwold station, now sadly lost.”

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