The Decline of Bures Railway Station

"Stour Valley Railway Through Time"
by Andy T. Wallis
History of the Stour Valley line from Marks Tey to Bury and Cavendish

Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: Amberley Publishing (26 July 2011)

ISBN-13: 978-1445604725.

Available through Amazon.

Bures Railway Station, circa 1900

The present day rail link runs from Marks Tey through Chappel to Bures and finally terminates at Sudbury.

However, today it only exists as a small branch line compared to its original route which ran from Marks Tey all the way to Bury St Edmunds or Haverhill/Cambridge.

The line was opened throughout from Marks Tey to Sudbury for traffic on 2nd July 1849. The original train service consisted of four trains in each direction on weekdays only. Fares were governed by an Act of Parliament, namely 3d per mile first class, 2d per mile second and 1p per mile, third class. Third class remained in force until 1956, when it was renamed second class.
The journey time between Marks Tey and Sudbury, varied between 28 and 45 minutes which was the average for such a branch line.
(Today by modern Sprinter the average journey time is 19 minutes)
It was not until
9th August 1865, that the link to Bury and Haverhill was finally completed.

The Branch Line that never was:- Railways were gradually spreading over the region and it was proposed by a small railway company in 1863 called the Mistley, Thorpe and Walton Railway to run a River Stour Extension line from the main line junction at Manningtree along the south bank of the river through Dedham and Nayland to Bures where it would have joined the existing Stour Valley line which runs from Sudbury to Marks Tey.

bures stn

Station Buildings

Demolished 1973


Photograph dated 1973, in the process of demolition


The signal box was disused in 1962, as it was no longer required for the Sidings traffic
It was finally demolished in September 1965, the track points were removed and the single line section becoming Chappel/Sudbury

List of Staff at the station and dates

July 1949 - TUBB, A. E. Station Master Bures to Station Master Tallington

September 1949 - FOX, R. W. G. Station Master Mellis to Station Master Bures

January 1953 - FOX, R. W. G. Station Master Bures to Station Master Harlow

February 1953 - ELLIS, R. D. Relief Station Master Doncaster to Station Master Bures

July 1953 - WILDING, J. Ganger, Bures (retired) died aged 87, 10th February 1953

November 1958 - MARITT, R. G. Station Master, Newport retired (served at Bures)

March 1959 - BOREHAM, A. G. Signalman, Bures retired 29th May 1958

May 1960 - SMITH, A. J. Signalman, Bures (retired) died aged 82, 12th January 1960

September 1960 - ELLIS, R. D. Station Master, Bures to Station Master, Somersham (replaced by GRAY, R. R.)

6th February 1966 - GRAY, R. R. Station Master, Bures to Clerk, Sudbury


This reduction in rail freight traffic is rather ironic as the arrival of the trains had earlier caused the demise of barge traffic on the river, carrying goods. Rail was now faster and more reliable.

The coming of road vehicles was now having the same effect and the carriage of freight by rail, was ultimately doomed.
The last freight train travelled on the Stour Valley Line on 18th June 1962.

However, a single freight train was retained and ran between Sudbury to Bures and back when required, but this ceased on December 28th 1964.


Long Melford to Bury passenger service ceased 10th April 1961, Lavenham, Cockfield and Welnetham continued to handle parcels and goods for a couple of more years.
Passenger service on the Colne Valley line ceased 1st Jan 1962
Long Melford to Lavenham track lifted 1962
Sturmer closed to freight on 25th June 1962
Welnetham closed to freight on 13th July 1964
Bures, Cavendish, Bartlow, White and Earls Colne and Gt Yeldham closed to freight on 28th Dec 1964
Sible and Castle Hedingham closed to freight on 13th July 1964

In April 1965, the then British Railways Board applied for permission to withdraw passenger service from the whole of the line between Marks Tey and Cambridge. After a bitter struggle, local opposition managed to get the section between Sudbury and Marks Tey retained on account of its potential growth in commuter traffic and the expansion of Sudbury. However approval was granted for the section between Sudbury and Cambridge to be closed,

Bury to Lavenham freight withdrawn 19th April 1965
Gt Yeldam to Haverhill ceased 19th April 1965
Halstead, White Colne, Earls Colne, Hedingham, Pamisford, Haverhill South, Stoke, Lavenham and Cockfield all closed 19th April 1965
Clare, Linton, Glemsford and Long Melford closed on 12th Sept 1965
Haverhill North and all freight on the Stour & Colne Valley lines withdrawn 31st October 1966

All passenger services to the north of Sudbury to Cambridge ceased on 6th March 1967
Chappel signal box and all points removed 20th August 1967

Marks Tey - Chappel - Bures - Sudbury was now the only original 1849 section of the two branch lines remaining,

new station@19k
Railway Station 2002.


Technical data taken from Branches & Byways of East Anglia by John Brodribb
updat with newspaper cutting 22/02/2017
updated with 1900 Station photo 29/08/21