- Cambridge to Sudbury via Clare
- the Eye branch from Mellis on the London to Norwich line (Mellis itself was closed years ago)
- the Framlingham branch from the East Suffolk line
- the light railway to Southwold
- the Aldeburgh branch from the East Suffolk line, partly retained to serve Sizewell B
- the Waveney Valley line serving Bungay
- the Snape goods line
The one remaining line even partly open to the public is the Mid Suffolk Light Railway, originally opened in 1902 to goods traffic, with passengers carried from 1908, which ran from Haughley, north of Stowmarket, on the London to Norwich line, eastwards across country to Laxfield.
Originally, it was intended to run to Halesworth, to connect with the East Suffolk line and connect Cambridge with Lowestoft more directly. However, by 1907, the railway was effectively bankrupt, and the money ran out more than eight miles short of its intended terminus. Similarly, a southern branch, intended to connect the railway with Ipswich, only reached a mile or so towards Debenham before work stopped.
What remained was a meandering light railway, serving a series of small, rural villages reliant on agriculture for goods traffic. It never really stood a chance and, by 1952, was closed forever. Or so it seemed. A group of enthusiasts formed a society designed to salvage the heritage and, eventually, run some trains again. Ironically, the committee on Suffolk County Council that gave them one of their primary grants in the early days was chaired by my lovely wife.
Today, based at the old station at Brockford, the Mid Suffolk Light Railway Museum has recreated the station, laid some track, and run steam trains up and down a short stretch of track from time to time. There is a museum with photographs and models, a shop where you can buy old railway magazines, books and other railway memorabilia, a pretty good tearoom and, on occasion, a real ale bar serving the finest products of the Earl Soham Brewery.
As Ros and I are quite keen to explore Suffolk - well, Ros wants me to see more of it, and I'm perfectly happy to do so - we decided to take her sister for a visit. A theme day was being held - 'Music on the Middy', with a folk band, including an accordion player, and there were quite a few people who had made their way to what is, I admit, a fairly remote corner of mid-Suffolk.
We rode the train, drank tea (or in my case, real ale), I took some pictures. All in all, it was rather fun. And, best of all, I am now the proud possessor of a season ticket for the rest of the year, so I may well return, if only for a beer...