Marks Tey - Bures - Sudbury
Rail Line (2015)


11th February 2015

Steam Excursion passing through Marks Tey.

Routed from Norwich to Windsor, 61306 Mayflower

Feb 11th 2015
Marks Tey 61306 'Mayflower' doing 61mph on 1Z61 08:03 Norwich to Windsor and Eton Riverside


Thanks to David Goodyear for allowing me to reproduce his photograph taken at Marks Tey station.


Rail Totem August 2015

The idea of the totem originated with the re-painting of the waiting room (hut) by Abellio Greater Anglia in about 2011 in their corporate colours.
David and Anne Taylor, the station adopters, had requested (with the support of the Parish Council) that the hut be re-painted in traditional LNER colours, which would also be consistent with the decoration at Chappel station.
However, Abellio stuck to their guns and the hut was painted in shades of corporate grey.

The intervening years saw the grey on the interior get marked and vandalised, and it was agreed that David could paint over the affected
parts. The problem by now, however, was that Abellio could no longer source their own corporate colours, so after repeated requests they agreed that David could paint it what colour he liked.
Hence, he painted the inside in the traditional Bamboo and Buckingham Green colours.

When all this was happening, Steven Binks, a local artist, offered to enhance the station with a traditional looking totem that he would donate.
The Essex and South Suffolk Rail Partnership were keen and Abellio also gave their assent. Subsequently the sign was erected on the hut as shown above.
It is hoped that in due course, all the branch stations will have this embellishment.

The hut has also been enhanced by David and Anne with two 'old' railway travel posters, a donated picture from Steven, and another picture which was the property of the Rail Museum at Chappel.
At time of writing (August 2015) these are being repaired and replaced due to persistent on-going attempts to vandalise them (breaking the glass mainly):
David and Anne also unfortunately experienced the theft of two of the pictures one night. The Parish Council have now assisted with the purchase of toughened glass which will hopefully give the pictures a longer life.'


The work was funded by the Community Rail Partnership, Greater Anglia, Bures Hamlet Parish Council, in all totalling £500, and match funded by the Designated Community Railway Development Fund, bringing our total to £1,000 - with the plants costing an additional £150.

About 10 volunteers from the Stour Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty constructed the bed in mid March, together with other associated work – and subsequent work provided by the adopters and other helpers. The sleepers were sourced from Jamie Cann in Norfolk and the soil (about 8 tons!) was kindly provided by Dennis Ambrose of Fysh House Farm.

The signal has been kindly donated by The East Anglia Railway Museum at Chappel, and lovingly restored by adopter David. It is a ground shunting signal, usually known as a ‘Dodd’, made by signal engineers McKenzie and Holland.
It was in general use by the Great Northern Railway from the early 1900’s. This example is believed to have come from Lincolnshire, and had been at the Museum since the early 1970’s.
The plants were sourced from Suffolk Garden Design, based in Twinstead. For those of you who may be interested we have attempted to identify the plants in the diagram below:-

Lupins:- White is Noble Maiden, Blue is "the Govenor" and pink "My Castle
“Gardening is not a rational act” (Margaret Atwood)

Supplied by David & Ann Taylor, Station Adopters


Service Disruption 9th and 10th Nov 2015
Abellio announcement on their web site

Due to more trains than usual needing repairs at the same time between Marks Tey and Sudbury:
Train services between Marks Tey and Sudbury will be suspended between Marks Tey and Sudbury. Disruption is expected until the end of the day.
Customer Advice:
A Rail Replacement Bus service is being operated by Turners, Ensign, Panther Travel, Regals, Dons of Dunmows.
The location of the designated bus stop at your station can be found by using the following link and entering your station name, then click on the Local area maps:
Journey times will be extended up to 40 minutes
Customers holding valid, or pre purchased car parking tickets for the NCP car park at Marks Tey, may park at Colchester station NCP car park, for Thursday 12 November
We apologise for the disruption to your train services today.

Editor Notes.
This service disruption not only affected the Sudbury line but also the Ipswich to Felixstowe branch
The reason:- leaves on the line.
The leaves resulted in the wheels spinning on the track and causing flat spots. The rolling stock were transferred back to Crown Point where the bogies were removed and the wheels turned on a lathe to restore a uniform circumference
The track was scheduled to be closed for only the 11th, but this has been now extended to the 12th
To make matters worse, the road through Mount Bures was closed due to roadworks, which meant the replacement bus service had to finds an alternative route leading to severe journey delays of up to 40 minutes.

Further update
Disruption now scheduled for one week (Mon 9th to Sun 15th)

The news has prompted the County Council and South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge to write to the government and prospective rail operators to demand that any franchise holder will be able to cope in future autumns.
Abellio Greater Anglia has 26 diesel railcars to operate its rural and regional services that are not electrified. It needs to have 21 in operation at any one time to provide a full service.

On Wednesday it only had 16 units available because 10 were out of action. Two were undergoing routine maintenance but the other eight needed wheels to be repaired because they had skidded on slippery track – damaging the steel “tyre” that comes in contact with the rail line.
The one and two-car units that date from the 1980s are particularly susceptible to this problem – more recent units have mechanisms to blow leaf mulch off the track and reduce slippage.

When trains are withdrawn from service, the first lines to be affected are the routes from Ipswich to Felixstowe and from Marks Tey to Sudbury because they are operated by a single unit each – and are not integrated with any other routes.

Trains with damaged wheels had to be sent to a specialist lathe at Ilford owned by Bombardier Rail, and while that company had been working very hard it was difficult to keep up with the demand.

An Abellio spokesperson said: “We can operate a normal service with five trains out, but this week we’ve had three or even five more out on top of that. We are very sorry but we are trying to restore a normal service as quickly as possible.”

Buses are likely to replace trains on the Felixstowe and Sudbury lines today, but Abellio Greater Anglia hopes to have a full rail service back in operation next week.

Other parts of the country have been experiencing similar problems – which meant other companies had been unable to lend their units to make up the shortfall.


Update 10th Nov

On Tuesday evenving, Abellio Greater Anglia arranged taxis for the passengers who were unable to get the train for the last leg of their branch line journey
One passenger stated “we couldn’t use the taxis waiting at the station because they didn’t have an account with Abellio.

“Then when the taxis did turn up we were told they were only going to Sudbury. I pointed out that I was supposed to be going to Bures and it was very difficult to find a taxi prepared to go via that station.” - all too no avail

Jonathan Denby from Abellio Greater Anglia, said the taxi drivers should have covered all the stations on Tuesday night, and the company would ensure that in any further contracts they understood that.


Update 12th Nov

To compound commuters problems, roadworks at Mount Bures resulted in Hall Road being closed (12th and 13th), consequently the replacement bus service could not use this section of their route between Bures and Chappel.

Bus services would operate as below:
The bus route was then scheduled with two vehicles
(1)Sudbury and Bures then direct to Colchester North
(2)Chappel direct to Marks Tey


End December 2015

With rail services on rural lines across the region suffering from a lack of units, a novel solution could be heading to two Suffolk branch lines – former District Line Tube trains.


A new company, Vivarail, has bought more than 200 former District Line Tube trains, dating from the 1970s, and has converted a prototype into a modern diesel unit that could be run on short rural and urban lines across the country.

The D-Train would not be suitable for long-distance routes of more than an hour – but could be used on shorter routes such as the Ipswich to Felixstowe line or the Sudbury branch from Marks Tey.

A spokeswoman for Vivarail said the company was hoping to talk to bidders for the new Anglia rail franchise that is due to start next October in the hope of supplying units for the region.

There is a national shortage of diesel units which has meant Abellio Greater Anglia has been struggling to cover for broken-down trains when they have more than one breaking down.

The D-Train is seen as a potential solution on a number of routes across the country – and is currently being tested on the Cotswold line close to Vivarail’s base near Stratford on Avon.

Company spokeswoman Alice Gillman said the company hoped to speak to the bidders for the new franchise because the D-Trains would be cheaper and could be made ready much more quickly than a traditional electric unit.

She said: “We could make up to 75 three-car trains and an order would take us a year to fulfil, meaning new trains could come on stream relatively quickly.

“Although the train is based on a bodyshell of a Tube train, it is only that and the bogies which are 10 years old that would be carried over. Everything else is new.

“And because the bodyshell is aluminium there is no rust. They are essentially brand new trains and will be available in a reasonable time. ”

No new trains can be ordered until the franchise bidding process is complete and none of the bidders – Abellio/Stagecoach, National Express, or First Group – are able to comment on their plans until their formal bids are lodged with the Department for Transport.

Courtesy of EADT 3/01/2016