8 of the best train trips for families in Suffolk
Most children love trains – whether it’s visiting a heritage railway or a museum, or taking a ride along one of our many train lines in Suffolk and Essex.
The counties aren’t home to the longest heritage lines in the country – but they do have sites of interest for dedicated enthusiasts as well as families looking for a scorching day.
The Mid Suffolk Light Railroad
Suffolk’s only heritage standard gauge railway line, the Middy is now on the move as it is doubling its track to nearly 1 mile and restoring its own steam locomotive.
Based at Brockford and Wetheringsett station, just off the A140, it is a recreation of a line that closed in 1952 and served farms and villages in Mid Suffolk – as well as bases of WWII USAAF in Horham and Mendlesham.
Only a short section of the line has been restored, and even with the extension it will only be a fraction of the original line – but it does give a real idea of what a tram looked like in the first half of the year. XXth century. .
There’s also a fascinating museum and nature trail that will keep the family busy on steamy days.
The East Anglian Railway Museum.
This can be found at Chappel and Wakes Colne station on the Marks Tey branch line to Sudbury in North Essex.
Although it has a short service line, that’s basically what it says – a museum dedicated to the history of railways in the region.
It’s also a food court – it brought steam locomotives back to life and maintained them. His volunteers are currently overhauling his “star” locomotive – the only LNER N7 commuter train locomotive that has operated in the area from the 1920s.
If you want to combine your visit to the museum with a real train trip, you can take a Greater Anglia train from the station to Sudbury or Marks Tey (or a round trip to both) – a trip that takes you over the spectacular viaduct of Chappel it is only right outside the station itself.
Colne Valley Railway
A mile-long journey that begins and ends at Castle Hedingham station.
There is a museum, signal box, and other facilities including a woodland walk and a station gift shop.
Epping Ongar Railway
South of Chelmsford, until 1994, it was the northeast terminus of the central line of the London Underground – although it was originally built as a branch line of the Great Eastern Railway.
It is now a heritage line just over six miles long stretching from Ongar to Epping Forest via North Weald.
Most people start their journey from Ongar, but North Weald Station is the main hub of activity with a museum and food shed. Despite the name, the railway does not have access to Epping Station – but there is a vintage bus that runs from North Weald to Epping during most steam days.
The railway owns both vintage steam locomotives and diesel locomotives – its flagship engine is the GWR Pitchford Hall locomotive, which recently returned to service after a major overhaul.
In addition to the railways and heritage museums, there are also some very attractive Greater Anglia routes to explore.
The East Suffolk Line
The trip from Ipswich to Lowestoft takes around 90 minutes, but it is a very attractive journey through the typical East Suffolk countryside.
From the River Deben between Woodbridge and Melton to the attractive fields between Wickham Market and Halesworth and the Gateway to the Broads via Oulton Broad to Britain’s most easterly station.
The Wherry line
Only part of the Lowestoft to Norwich line is in Suffolk – but the ride is the most attractive train ride you’ll find in East Anglia.
The track passes next to the southern end of the wide. through the reed beds and across two swing bridges. The journey only takes around 45 minutes – but it’s a real delight the whole way.
The Mayflower range
The journey from Manningtree to Harwich runs along the lower part of the River Stour – and is a stark contrast. It passes through the old towns of Manningtree and Mistley before entering beautiful riverside countryside in Wrabness with forest on one side and tidal marshes on the other.
It then passes through the industrial port of Parkeston Quay before stopping at Dovercourt and ending in the heart of historic Harwich – a great short ride.
For an interesting round trip, take the ferry on foot from Harwich to Landguard Point in Felixstowe.
It’s a bit of a walk from Landguard to Felixstowe station – but if you’re able to do it and have the time, it’s definitely a very appealing way to stretch your legs.
The Felixstowe branch is, in many ways. mirror image of the Mayflower Line – hugging the north bank of the Orwell for much of its way.
The 25 minute journey is half through attractive countryside, half looping around Ipswich from the south-east of the city as it approaches the station from the north-west – this is can – not being the most traditionally appealing ride, but it certainly offers some variety. for passengers!