Marks Tey - Bures - Sudbury
Rail Line (2006)
Current Rolling Stock for 2006

Weekday Services: Class 156 Sprinters
The Class 156 units operate on the branch line during weekdays in order to provide a sufficient number of seats for the peak travel time, each Sprinter is capable of carrying approximately 148 seated passengers.

Class 156 Fleet List:

156402 Undercoat White
156407 Blue
156409 Blue
156412 Central Green
156416 Blue
156417 Blue
156418 Central Green
156419 Central Green
156422 Blue


Sprinter 156422, is typical of the two car units that traverse the line during weekdays.

Sunday services on the line are provided by single carriage Class 153 which can accommodate 66 passengers.



During the early evening rush hour in January a Sprinter failed to stop correctly at Sudbury and collided with the station buffers.

Approximately 80 passengers were just about to disembark when several of them were thrown to the floor by the sudden impact. Only minor injuries were sustained although the ambulance service did attend.

In a report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch published during December 2006, driver error was to blame.
No fault was found on the brakes or train equipment.

Photo courtesy of The Mercury newspaper

Ex Norwich Festival 153314, in new One colours appeared on the line during the weekend 11/12th March
Bures Station 2006

On Saturday 15th July "NENTA Railtours" operated a Sudbury to York special.

It departed Sudbury at 0525 calling at Bures, Chappel and Marks Tey before proceeding to Colchester, Ipswich, Bury and then to the East Coast Main Line at Peterborough. It was topped and tailed by 47703 and 31128.

Unfortunately, it was the subject of all sorts of problems.

(1) The original date in June was pushed back to July.
(2) The rolling stock on the previous day failed and substitute carriages had to be found. As you can see some were of the "Green" type, push down windows era.

(3) The schedules start time from Sudbury was pushed back from 0600 to 0525.
(4) Non DMU stock on the branch line is limited to 20mph, consequently the journey was very slow.
(5) Network Rail were carrying out re-furbishment work on the branch line after the normal "One" service finished, Consequently the Special was refused a return entry on the line. The train embarked passengers at Bury for Sudbury, Bures etc to be returned by bus. The train then continued to Colchester where it finally terminated.

The last Railtour to Sudbury was in 11th November 2001, "The Alresford Adventurer" run by Daylight Railtours. This was strangely the Green Train as used by Nenta!
Loco on the Sudbury end was Steam 35005 "Canadian Pacific" and Diesel 47635 on the Marks Tey end, It was in Sudbury about 4:30 pm.
It was part of a tour from Alresford to Walton on Naze. (of course calling at the Arlesford on that line!)Alresford - Clapham Junction - Kensington Olympia  - Barking - Forest Gate - Colchester - Walton on Naze - Colchester Town - Sudbury - Chappel (1hr break for water) - Marks Tey Up Loop - Forest Gate - Woodgrange Park - Kensington Olympia - Clapham Junction - Alresford
Canadian Pacific being the heaviest train ever to run on the line (even during the good old days, apparently engines of that weight never ran along the Stour Valley Lines!) It was supposed to go into the Museum for a top up of water, but had to wait on the branch platform because they forgot to
pickup the Annets Key from Marks Tey to operate Museum Ground Frame.

 Railtour text info 2001 courtesy of Darren Johnson

Nenta operated their second railtour of the year s from Sudbury to Skipton on December 2nd 2006 departing at 0530. Consisted of 12 cars + top and tail class 47 `s, operated by FM Rail.
Passengers also had the opportunity to stay on the
tour to traverse the SKIPTON - RYLSTONE goods line, a journey time of 60 minutes before returning to Skipton.

The rolling stock had an arduous journey:-

Departing (Oxley)Wolvehampton on Thursday at 1130 to be stabled at Derby overnight.
Depart Derby 0810 to arrive Colchester yard Friday 1315.

Depart Colchester yard 0415 on Saturday morning to arrive Sudbury at 0500.
Return to Sudbury after completing Railtour at 0030.
The stock then returned to the Colchester yard early Sunday morning where it was stabled before returning to Wolverhampton on Monday.
 Courtesy of Darren Johnson



The Government feels that rural railways and branch lines are important to many parts of the country. Therefore the Community Rail Division of the Department of Transport has taken over the former Strategic Rail Authoritiy`s, "Community Rail Development Strategy"

The Strategy looks at innovative ways of operating local branch lines through a programme of cost management, a drive to increase passenger numbers and direct community involvement via Community Rail Partnerships, local authorities etc.

In the Strategy 56, routes across England and Wales are proposed to be designated as official DoT Community Rail Lines.
The Gainsborough Line has been selected with a consulation process taking place during September.

It is very early days yet and the implications of this are yet to be announced.
Courtesy of ESSCRP Newsletter