The Mid-Suffolk Light Railway
- Mid-Suffolk Light Railway
- Promoted after the passing of the Light Railways Act of 1896 to alleviate the effects of the agricultural depression in central Suffolk, the MSLR was an ambitious scheme intended to traverse and serve the open agricultural land, with a route linking the Great Eastern Railway at Haughley and Halesworth with a branch from Kenton to the outskirts of Ipswich and the GER at Westerfield.
- Financial difficulties prevented any more than the 19 miles between Haughley and Laxfield and a short 1¾ mile section south of Kenton being completed and opened in 1904. Furthermore, disputes with the contractor and bankruptcy of the Chairman and blocking of loans, culminated in the appointment of a Receiver, and in this perilous state the MSLR soldiered on.
- Only after the satisfactory settlement of outstanding debts did the LNER reluctantly assume responsibility for the light railway in 1924 and miraculously, with negligible passenger traffic, the line survived nationalisation, not closing until 1952.
- Affectionately known as the 'Middy', stories of the line were many, for although officialdom was seen on occasions, unorthodox methods of working were the rule more than the exception. One driver carried his shotgun in the cab and shot rabbits or pheasants from the footplate while on the move, stopping to pick up his trophies on the return run. The railway was treated by many rather unfairly as a joke, but in truth it operated as efficiently as possible with minimum capital.
- Those familiar with the author's previous publications on numerous East Anglian branch lines will be only too aware of his keen devotion to his subject. With typically thorough and diligent research, no stone has been left unturned in his mission to record every aspect of the MSLR's fascinating story. The resulting volume is a magnificent achievement likely to remain the definitive work on this picturesque railway in deepest rural Suffolk.
- 216 pages, 1986 reprinted 2003, Laminated Card Covers, 10¾" x 8½", 910g
- Wild Swan Publications
- ISBN 187410381x
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