Go-ahead for train carriage holiday plan

A FARMER has been given the go-ahead in his bid to create holiday homes from old railway carriages.

John Howard

A FARMER has been given the go-ahead in his bid to create holiday homes from old railway carriages.

Mid Suffolk district councillors have granted planning permission for the restoration of two historic carriages and a guard's van, as well as building a timber recreation station for tourists staying at Brockford Green, just off the A140.

The carriages are from the old Mid Suffolk Light Railway line, known as the Middy, which vanished more than 50 years ago.

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The holiday lettings, which will cater for 10 adults, will be recreated to look like the old railway carriages and painted in the livery of the period.

The scheme will create four new part-time jobs to help cater for the holidaymakers, and is close to the Middy and the museum that celebrates it.

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Tony Alston, 65, whose family have farmed at Wetheringsett-cum-Brockford near Eye since the 1930s, said he hoped the accommodation will be open by Easter next year.

He said: “This will create new jobs, during construction and restoration and when it is up and running, and we are hoping to attract families, couples and railway enthusiasts.

“I have acquired one carriage from the Middy museum and others will be arriving.

“Our 850 acres of land is used for wheat, sugar beat, oil seed rape and my father started here in 1936.

“Today it is important for farms to diversify and we are creating something for the future with this project, but still building on our heritage.”

Sarah Hucklesby, an architect from Eye who worked on the project, said: “The Middy is a gem, because it was so tiny, and came from a rural economy trying to get goods to market.

“The project provides a unique opportunity, there are only a handful of this type of themed holiday developments in the entire country.”

The Mid Suffolk Light Railway was built to provide modern transport to the rural Suffolk communities.

The line ran for just 19 miles from Haughley to Laxfield, became part of the LNER in 1924, and was closed completely in July 1952.

It had been built long after the great railway boom that swept through the country during the Victorian age, and soon fell into financial difficulties.

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