In June, a series of events will be held to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Marks Tey – Sudbury railway line, also known as the Gainsborough Line. This historic railway line, which first opened on 2 July 1849, holds a special place in the region’s history.

Organized by the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership (CRP) in collaboration with Greater Anglia, station adopter volunteers, and local organizations, the weekend of festivities will take place on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 June.

The celebrations kick off with a free guided walk from Marks Tey station to Chappel & Wakes Colne station on Saturday morning. Led by Hugh Turner, a descendant of the viaduct designer Peter Bruff, the walk promises to provide insight into the history and significance of the railway line.

Later that evening, guests can enjoy entertainment on board the ‘Old Time Music Hall’ train departing from Marks Tey. The train ride will feature music, singalongs, and Victorian costume dress-up opportunities. Tickets for this unique experience are priced at £5 for adults and £3 for children.

On Sunday, the festivities continue at the East Anglian Railway Museum in Chappel & Wakes Colne station, beginning at 13:30 with an opening ceremony, family picnic, and various activities. Entry to the museum will be free for local residents, with regular admission fees for others.

In Sudbury, Gainsborough’s House Museum will host two lectures by Dr. Steven Parissien on Sunday. The lectures will delve into the impact of the railway on British life and the evolution of English railway stations. Attendees can purchase tickets for individual lectures or a package for both, which includes museum entry.

Jayne Sumner, Rail Engagement Manager of the Essex & South Suffolk CRP, expressed enthusiasm for the upcoming events, highlighting the railway line’s enduring importance and role in the region’s economy. She looks forward to a bright future for the railway and its continued growth.

Jonathan Denby, Head of Corporate Affairs at Greater Anglia, commended the success of the Gainsborough Line over the past 175 years. He credited the support of the CRP, station adopter volunteers, and local partners for contributing to the line’s success and ensuring its ongoing vitality.

The anniversary celebrations are set to bring together history, entertainment, and community spirit to honor the legacy of the Marks Tey – Sudbury railway line. Join in the festivities to commemorate this significant milestone in regional history.

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