Rail enthusiasts hope to revive dismantled Leiston line


A stretch of railway track which was dismantled in 1968 could be revived.

The line in Leiston was introduced in 1929 to replace the Suffolk Punch horses which had transported materials and goods for Richard Garrett and Sons.

The shunting engine, Sirapite, which ran the line until 1962 has already been restored.

John Keeble, trustee of Leiston Works Railway Trust, said: "Hopefully in a year to two years we will have the line down and Sirapite going up it."

Mr Keeble said the trust had purchased part of the old railway track bed which runs between Leiston Library and the Engineers Arms pub on Main Street.

He said two months ago the stretch was "a terrible mess" but 28 volunteers helped to clear it.

'Stretch her legs'

Image caption,
Sirapite has been restored and currently operates on a short stretch of track at the museum

"Some of them came from afar away as Bury St Edmunds," he said. "Two of them were children - 10 and 14 - and worked all day long. It was terrific."

Mr Keeble said he had been buoyed by local support for the project, which if completed would see Sirapite travel the line on special occasions.

Sirapite was replaced by a battery electric engine in 1962 and moved on from Leiston.

It was bought in 2004 by trustees of Leiston's Long Shop Museum, where it currently has 100ft (30m) of track to move along.

Trevor Wrench, who is also a trustee, said: "She hasn't yet stretched her legs.

"We've got to repair the walls, we've got to get planning permission to re-lay the railway line, and then re-lay the railway line.

"Sounds easy doesn't it."

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