Why are steam trains returning to a Suffolk rail line?

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

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

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: PA

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

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.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter