Mid Suffolk Light Railway
Suffolk IP14 5PW
The Mid Suffolk Light Railway (MSLR) is primarily a railway museum centred on the reconstructed Brockford Station with 0.5 mile (0.8 km) of operating line. It is a little gem of a preserved branch line known affectionately by the locals as the ‘Middy’.
These types of branch lines once ran all over Britain and were the lifeblood of the community. They predominantly carried goods traffic, bringing essentials to local villages and taking away local produce to the nearest market towns. Tacked on to the train would be a passenger carriage providing much needed transport for school children and shoppers.
The MSLR was one such branch line, originally running from Haughley to Laxfield, a distance of 19 miles (31 km). The preservation society has plans to relay more of the track and extend the line in both directions.
Currently the MSRL runs a Hawthorn Leslie 0-4-0ST “Falmouth Docks and Engineering Co. Loco No. 3” pulling a GER 1266 Third Class passenger carriage built in 1891. Sometimes, a few freight wagons are added as well, replicating a sight often seen on this branch line.
The original line was opened in 1902 and functioned for 44 years. Its most busy period was during the Second World War but surplus ex-army vehicles providing road transport for freight soon replaced rail and the branch line became redundant.
In its heyday the majority of the rolling stock came from the Great Eastern Railway. The society has accumulated a large amount of this stock and is busy restoring it for use on the railway.
Brockford Station has been reconstructed on the base of the old cattle dock using bits of buildings from other stations on the line. A number of original Middy buildings from Wilby, Brockford, Haughley and Mendlesham have been restored and re-erected at the Brockford complex, recreating the atmosphere of a sleepy country railway station c. 1930s – 1950s.
As part of the museum visitors can see fully restored locomotives and wagons, and witness the restorers at work on a multitude of different vehicles and engines. The collection of rolling stock has been selected to represent the types of vehicle which would have been appropriate to a line such as MSLR. The passenger carriages are of four and six-wheeled Great Eastern Railway origin, being representative of the types of stock which ran on the Middy.
As well as working hard to restore the railway, the society is busy collecting and conserving documents, historic photographs and other artefacts relevant to the Middy.
In the Allen Exhibition Hall is a fabulous collection of small artefacts, documents, photographs and models which together tells the story of the building, operation and ultimate decline of the MSLR.
The models of historical aspects of the railway are simply superb. To get an idea of what delights lie in store when visiting the museum click on Web:Mid-Suffolk Light Railway Museum
During the summer, the MSLR also run extremely successful event days. Some are annual fixtures and others celebrate significant milestones in the line’s history. Check the official website for forthcoming attractions.
During December Santa Steam Specials are run on Sundays.
Plan your Visit
Accommodation - Search & Book through Expedia here:
The museum operates from April to the end of September on Sundays and Bank Holidays. Most of the Open Days have a Special Event to accompany the running of the steam locomotive. A Santa Special also runs.
A full list of the events and activities can be found on the Mid Suffolk light railway society's web site.
Refer to the MSLR website (link below) for details.
Refreshment Room; Licensed Bar Coach; Station book and gift Shop (see online catalogue); Riverside walk and Picnic Area.
Contact & Further Information
+44(0)1449 766 899
The MSLR is located on the outskirts of Wetheringsett Village near Stowmarket, about 14 miles (22.5 km) north of Ipswich
and 28 miles (45 km) south of Norwich. Take the A140 main Ipswich
- Norwich road and follow the brown tourist signs. Web: MSLR Brockford Station
Free parking is available in front of the museum.
Google Maps - Mid Suffolk Light Railway