|Stour Valley Railway|
The Stour Valley Railway is a partially closed railway line that ran between Shelford, near Cambridge and Marks Tey in Essex, England. The line opened in sections between 1849 and 1865. The route from Shelford to Sudbury closed on 6 March 1967 leaving only the section from Sudbury to Marks Tey, known as the Gainsborough Line in operation.
Following acts of Parliament in 1846 and 1847 the Colchester, Stour Valley, Sudbury & Halstead Railway was authorised to construct a line from Marks Tey to Sudbury and then extend from Sudbury to Clare, with a branch line to Bury St. Edmunds forking off at Long Melford. Before construction was completed the company had changed hands twice and became part of the Eastern Union Railway.
In 1862 the Eastern Union Railway and Eastern Counties Railway were amalgamated into the new Great Eastern Railway.
After several years of protracted legal disputes, the Great Eastern Railway opened the section from Haverhill to Shelford on 1 June 1865 and then the section from Sudbury to Haverhil on 9 August. The Long Melford-Bury St Edmunds branch line from Melford to Bury St. Edmunds was also completed in the same year. The line was now connected to the Colne Valley and Halstead Railway at Haverhill serving Castle Hedingham, Halstead and Chappel and Wakes Colne.
The remaining operational section of the line is now known as the Gainsborough Line.
There were four trains each way on weekdays between Marks Tey and Sudbury in 1850, one of which went to Colchester. When services started between Cambridge and Haverhill there were three trains each way on weekdays. By the 1890s six passenger trains ran each way on a weekday with the majority going from Cambridge or Bury St Edmunds to Marks Tey or Colchester.
Before the line closed (1966–7) there were two trains a day between Sudbury and Cambridge, four between Colchester and Cambridge and six between Marks Tey or Colchester and Sudbury, with a similar number in the reverse direction. The service was operated by primarily by Class 105 and Class 108 Diesel Multiple Units, although some services were locomotive hauled.
Coal between Peterborough and Colchester and agricultural traffic were the main freight flows on the line.
A study in 2004 looked in to the possibility of reopening Cambridge to Haverhill and maybe the entire line. The campaign is now being taken up by the Cambridge to Sudbury Rail Renewal Association.