Railway 'joke' postcards discovered

PLANS to resurrect a north Suffolk railway may have got many modern day residents all steamed up.But in the early 1900s, the narrow-gauge rail line was the butt of a Southwold popular artist's jokes.

PLANS to resurrect a north Suffolk railway may have got many modern day residents all steamed up.

But in the early 1900s, the narrow-gauge rail line was the butt of a Southwold popular artist's jokes.

A set of a dozen cartoon postcards of the old Southwold Railway, which ran from Southwold to Halesworth from 1879 to 1929 , have been discovered.

Derek Whiley, 70, of Ipswich, found the series of 12 cards in his parents' house after they died.


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The postcards show how the twig-line railway - which linked Blythburgh, Walberswick and Southwold to the national network for 50 years - was wickedly mocked by local cartoonist and Beano artist Reg Carter.

At the time, the line had become a bit of a joke locally and although it provided an important link with the outside world, its eccentric coaches, engines and gauge and noted unreliability led to Carter's series of postcards.

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Carter was born in Southwold and he produced hundreds of postcards in his life time and was also an illustrator for comics, including The Beano. He did the illustrations for Big Eggo the ostrich who was always hunting for his egg.

His postcards of the Southwold Railway show a number of scenarios where the line is hit by farcical situations.

Mr Whiley said he did not know how why his parents, Henry and Olive, had the Southwold-printed postcards.

He said: “My parents lived in Gorleston and I just came across them when I was sorting things out between what to keep and what to throw away.

“There's lots of little details in them and you can look at them 10 or more times and still find something different.”

The Southwold Railway Trust's planning application for the first phase of a pastiche project to replicate the old Southwold Railway is currently going through the planning process.

As the first stage of the project, the trust members have submitted plans to Waveney District Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council that would see a park-and-ride facility at Henham Park, beside the A12, and the track running under the trunk road and through the outskirts of Wangford and Reydon before terminating at Southwold Station at Easton Bavents.

The scheme has come under fire from landowners and local residents and a public meeting will be held at 7pm tonight at Reydon Primary School.

At tonight's meeting, John Bennett and David Negus, from the Southwold Railway Trust, will be present, as will a representative from Waveney District Council's planning department.

kate.scotter@eadt.co.uk

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