Cat no. 153

Southwold Narrow Gauge Railway (Opened 1879, Closed 1929)

Running time2:09 Black & White Silent 1929 Southwold, Suffolk

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The Southwold to Halesworth Narrow Gauge Railway.


AmateurArchive AliveTravel / Travelogue

A locally made film of the Southwold to Halesworth narrow-gauge railway. The film opens with shots of Halesworth L.N.E.R. station with the Southwold Railway platform running alongside. A Southwold Railway engine is shown pulling in. The train carries a mixed load of passenger carriages and goods wagons. The scene moves to Southwold. The Station Master at Southwold, Mr. Bert Girling, is shown along with interior shots of the passenger carriages. The station motor bus is shown along with busy scenes on the platform, including goods being unloaded on to a horse and cart.

Background Information:

The Southwold Railway was a narrow-gauge line, only three feet wide. It ran on light metals between Southwold and Halesworth, with stations at Walberswick, Blythburgh and Wenhaston. Trains had a maximum speed of 16 mph. A local, family concern, the train had been known to wait for regular passengers. Comic postcards were available showing passengers picking flowers. It was this humour that Gaumont Mirror picked up on when they filmed the railway before its closure in 1929. However, from them it sounded patronising. (See: Southwold, Suffolk, 1929, A Railway that is A Real Joke.) When it closed, the Southwold Railway had 30 employees; all received a fortnight's notice. The Southwold Railway lay derelict for over ten years. Truck and other rolling stock remained as they were after the last train at 5.23 pm on 11 the April, 1929. As a statutory company, it required an Act of Parliament to dissolve it. This cost more money than anyone could find. The rolling stock went for scrap metal during World War II and soldiers tore up the track for defence work. The Bridge was blown up. Nothing remains of the railway now. Halesworth Station was G.E.R. station but was closed and the station site is now overgrown. The railway closed in April, 1929 - through competition with motor buses.

Featured People:

Mr. Bert Girling, Station Master, Southwold

Featured Organisations:

The Southwold Railway

Featured Events:

The closure of the Southwold Railway

Featured Buildings:

Halesworth L.N.E.R. Station; Southwold Station

Barrett Jenkins

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