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Why are steam trains returning to a Suffolk rail line?

PUBLISHED: 10:46 08 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:32 08 August 2018

The Middy's LNER steam locomotive at Dovebrook Halt. Picture: PAUL GEATER

The Middy's LNER steam locomotive at Dovebrook Halt. Picture: PAUL GEATER

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Suffolk’s only heritage railway should be steaming again at the weekend after its organisers decided they could manage the fire risk despite the current drought.

The Middy has been running diesel trains during the drought because of the risk of fire. Picture: PAUL GEATERThe Middy has been running diesel trains during the drought because of the risk of fire. Picture: PAUL GEATER

The Mid Suffolk Light Railway has been operating diesel services only since last month, but is now able to relight the fire in its steam locomotive because the field next to the line has been harvested, and a strip ploughed up to reduce the risk from sparks.

It will, however, be using fire marshals beside the track to ensure any sparks are extinguished before causing a problem – especially in the Dovebrook area at the end of the line from station at Wetheringsett.

Chairman John Stark said the Middy’s caution was similar to other steam lines: “Following the longest dry spell for many years most heritage railways have reviewed their risk assessment relating to the increased fire risk, especially those like the Middy in rural settings.”

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