Leiston: County councillor hopes branch line will reopen
23:15 30 September 2011
LIGHTWEIGHT trains could return to a long-lost Suffolk branch line nearly 50 years after it closed to passengers if the county council has its way.
A delegation of councillors, Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey, civic leaders, and even schoolchildren from the Leiston area yesterday visited the West Midlands to see a revolutionary railcar in action.
County councillor with responsibility for transport Guy McGregor wants to look at introducing Parry People Movers on the branch line between Saxmundham and Leiston.
The branch, which used to run to Aldeburgh, closed in 1966 as part of the Beeching Axe. However, it remains in place as far as Sizewell siding, just east of Leiston, to carry nuclear waste from the former Sizewell A power station.
The track is currently used infrequently by freight trains, and there would be considerable obstacles in introducing a regular passenger service.
There are two public level crossings and several farm crossings before reaching the site of the former Leiston station.
The station itself was sold and converted into homes many years ago so a new platform would have to be built – and the Parry People Movers use flywheel technology and would need their own depot on the line, possibly on the Leiston industrial estate, which is next to the track.
Mr McGregor is upbeat about the proposal. “These trains are very efficient, very light, and could do a good job on the line. Ultimately it would be good to get back to Aldeburgh, but we are going to see what they have to offer for now.”
Parry People Movers operate on a short branch from Stourbridge Junction to Stourbridge Town in the West Midlands – and after seeing them in operation the delegation from Suffolk will visit the company’s factory in Staffordshire.