East Anglian Railway Museum to run on Main Line?

The East Anglian Railway Museum (EARM) have taken an important delivery!

Plan to Run on the Sudbury Branch Line

The EARM have a TPWS set and a new high tension lead and anticipate fitting these in the next couple of years. This then makes their plan to run on the Sudbury branch line, to which they are connected possible. This of course assumes the NRM and Network Rail are satisfied on safety grounds, and operated like the North Yorkshire Moors Railway Grosmont to Whitby and Battersby services.

So How Can an Electric Train Run on an Unelectrified Line?

The 12 mile Marks Tey to Sudbury branch would be a perfect setting for the 1940 designed LNER class N7/3 0-6-2T No. 69621 providing the motive power. Being air braked with a Westinghouse pump system, it is compatible with the EMU and is already fitted with a speedometer.

The Sudbury branch has similar operating characteristics to the Grosmont to Whitby and Battersby route. The operating risk is minimised because of the low operating speed, mileage which means a collision is highly unlikely as the branch is a single line. The stepping boards under the doors will need some attention as they are deemed to protrude too far and foul the allowable gauge and were removed for the journey from Eastleigh.

Rish Assessment

The EARM would have to write a Risk Assessment to satisfy for the Rail Regulator’s Railway Inspectorate and Network Rail to allow the train to run on the branch line if they were to do t themselves as with the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

Otherwise, there are only two potential operators, West Coast Railways and DB Shenker who could be cheaper because the cost of insurance, writing the Safety Management Systems and obtaining a License is large.

If the method of operation can be as with the North East service, there should be no real reason for the authorities to turn down the application.

A Second Connection

Part of EARM’s plan is to install a second connection to the main line by the 75 foot high 32 arch viaduct to create a run-round loop. They also would like to extend their running line across the 1066 foot long viaduct, to the Marks Tey end. The poor embankment condition beyond this makes a longer run impossible.

This was within a matter of weeks of being laid a few years ago when the branch line was relaid and Network Rail allowed EARM to acquire the redundant track for the extension.

Under the Custody of the National Railway Museum

The East Anglian Railway Museum (EARM) based at Chappel & Wakes Colne station on the Marks Tey to Sudbury line have taken delivery of the 1935 Gresley designed class 306 three car Electric Multiple Unit No. 306017. It was towed from Eastleigh Works after asbestos had been removed, overnight on June 28/9 by GBRF stopping overnight at Ilford Depot.

The asbestos was removed by Knights Rail Services after being stored at Long Marston MOD depot in Warwickshire for some years. Despite being designed by Gresley in 1935, the three coach trains were not built until 1949, being delayed by the war and Nationalisation, by the Metcam and BRCW companies in Birmingham for use on Liverpool Street suburban services.

The train is under the custody of the National Railway Museum (NRM) following identification as a nationally important railway item by the Railway Heritage Committee. The EARM have a five year loan of the train which last ran in regular service in the late 1970s. It was last run 10 years ago on special occasions but was withdrawn when the Train Protection and Warning System was introduced along with the failure of the High Tension lead.


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