Mid Suffolk Light Railway reopens with a return to wartime

Middy museum

The Mid Suffolk Light Railway opened its season with the Middy At War weekend. - Credit: Paul Geater

The clock was turned back 80 years to the darkest days of the Second World War for the Mid Suffolk Light Railway's traditional season-opener over the bank holiday.

The Middy at War has become a hugely popular event - and although the railway based at Brockford and Wetheringsett Station could only allow half the normal number of visitors to come along, this year's proved hugely popular.

Middy at War

The Middy at War is one of the railway's most popular events. - Credit: Paul Geater

Visitors had to book in advance and Sunday was a total sell-out. After organisers saw how it went, they were able to make a few more tickets available for Monday - but they were selling fast and organisers were expecting another busy day. 

Mid Suffolk Light Railway

The Mid Suffolk Light Railway runs for about a quarter of a mile from Brockford to Dovebrook. - Credit: Paul Geater

Organising a major event like this does through up some challenges, said Middy spokesman John Reeve.

He said: "We haven't been able to have live singing or dancing displays that we normally arrange because you can't do anything that encourages an audience to come together. 

And strict social distancing had to be observed both on the trains and as people got on or off them at the stations.

Home Guard post

The Home Guard post was a popular attraction. - Credit: Paul Geater

As well as the usual displays of military vehicles, and a Home Guard post, this year there was the added interest of recreation of a German Alpine Camp at the other end of the line, Dovebrook.

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There were no Nazi items on show and those at the camp were keen to emphasise that they were simply interested in military history.

German camp

A "German" camp was set up at Dovebrook on the Middy. - Credit: Paul Geater

Mr Reeve said they could not believe how lucky they had been with the weather: "Everyone seems to be having a wonderful time. I think so many people are just so pleased to be able to get out and have fun - and to have this kind of perfect weather is a real bonus.

"We all have to be careful with social distancing and queuing to get on to the station and the train - but it is something everyone just seems to be enjoying enormously."

There are now a series of steam days planned at the Middy during the summer - while current restrictions apply visitors to need to book in advance to ensure social distancing rules are maintained.

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