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Leiston Works Railway Re-Opens With 'The Big 160'


THE Leiston Works Railway Trust (LWRT) celebrated the re- opening of a section of railway along the former Garrett's private industrial railway line, which they have been busy restoring with the help of


some very hard working and enthusiastic volunteers. The two day event, called The Big 160, took place at the Leiston Works Railway (LWR) trackbed and The Waterloo Centre in Leiston, on Saturday


1st and Sunday 2nd June, which marked the 160th anniversary of when the railway came to Leiston and the opening of the Works Railway. The LWRT felt it was fitting to celebrate the re-opening of a section of the Leiston Works Railway, to mark the anniversary in this special year.


It was on June 1st 1859 that the branch line opened from Saxmundham to Leiston. For the first time the Garrett Town Works had a direct connection to the main rail network. Initially a horse drawn tramway linked the Town Works to the main line at Leiston station. The tramway included a number of sidings and a spur line to the Garrett’s brickworks to the north of the town.


The works line had its own shunting engine ‘Sirapite’ which worked on the line from 1929 until 1962, when it was replaced by an electric locomotive. However, on a sad day in 1968 the works line closed. In 2011, a group of railway enthusiasts got together to form a new organisation, called the


Photos John Heald. Left to right: Chairman of the Leiston Works Railway Paul Hartley, locomo- tive owner Lawrie Rose and Leiston's last signalman Brian Ginger.


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Leiston Works Railway Trust. As the track bed had miraculously survived intact, the aim of the Trust was to re-open a section of the former private industrial railway


that once connected


Richard Garrett Engineering Town Works to the branch line in Leiston as an educational experience and to boost tourism for the town and to restore another part of the town's unique history.


The locomotive used for the re-opening was Ruston 48DS 0-4-0 diesel shunter and was kindly loaned and driven by owner Lawrie Rose, and normally


resides at the Mid


Suffolk Light Railway. The official re-opening of the railway took place on Saturday 1st June with LWRT Chairman Paul Hartley welcoming everyone.


The honour of


cutting the ribbon to re-open the Leiston Works Railway went to Leiston resident and last railway signalman Brian Ginger. Brian worked at Leiston Signal Box for about four years. However, in September 1966, passenger train services were withdrawn under the Beeching Plan, although he remained at the box for one more year for a daily freight train! Once Brian had declared the


LWR line open, Paul blew the whistle and waved the green flag and with the acknowledgement from the horn on Ruston 48, it travelled slowly and proudly down the railway line and back! Quite a poignant moment for the Leiston Works Railway. Other attractions at the event were some model railway displays, including a magnificent 'N' gauge model railway of


Photos John Heald. Ruston 48 stands proudly on the Leiston Works Railway.


Leiston Station, set in the 1950's, and a 7.25 inch gauge railway called the Top Field Light Railway giving train rides behind a beautiful model steam engine. Also, various organisations, including The Suffolk Horse Society and Halesworth to Southwold Narrow Gauge Railway Society, were in attendance. The LWRT would like to thank Lawrie Rose for the loan of his locomotive


and all the other


individuals and organisations who helped to make the Big 160 such a successful and memorable event.


For all the latest information on


the LWR, please visit the Leiston Works Railway Facebook page or visit the website www.lwr.org. uk where you will find the latest information about the progress of the LWR. The LWRT are always looking


for Volunteers to help re-build the railway. If you are interested, please telephone 0777 464 0708 for details.


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