A visit to the East Anglian Railway Museum.
The East Anglian Railway Museum is located at Chappel and Wakes Colne railway station in Essex, England, which is situated on the former Great Eastern Railway branch line from Marks Tey to Sudbury. Services on the Sudbury Branch Line are operated by Abellio Greater Anglia.
The museum has a wide collection of locomotives and rolling stock, some of which are fully restored, three are converted into Thomas, Percy and Toby replicas while others are undergoing repair and restoration. The Restoration Shed was built in 1983–4, before which most work had to take place in the Goods Shed or in the open. On event days, steam or diesel train rides are operated over a short demonstration track.
The museum also plays host to three popular annual events: the Winter Beer Festival held each February, the Cider Festival held each June, and the Summer Beer Festival held each September. During the festivals, additional late-evening trains on the Sudbury Branch Line allow festival-goers to return home by train subject to provision by the train operation companies. There are no moving exhibits during the festivals, although train carriages are usually open to sit in and drink, with one wagon doubling up as The Shunters Arms at the summer festival.
The museum was originally formed as the Stour Valley Railway Preservation Society on 24 September 1968. The SVRPS was established at Chappel & Wakes Colne Station in December 1969 after a lease was obtained from British Rail to use the vacant goods yard and railway buildings, including the station building. The first public steam day took place three months later.
The goods shed and station buildings were quickly restored; with a workshop being set up in the goods shed to enable maintenance and restoration work to be undertaken on the rolling stock.
The Stour Valley Railway Preservation Society was renamed to The East Anglian Railway Museum in 1986 to confirm its focus on representing railway history of the Eastern Counties rather than just operating trains. The museum gained charitable status in 1991 (Registered Charity No. 1001579) and became a Registered Museum in 1995.
Since 2005, the museum has had a greater emphasis on interpretation and display facilities, a large variety of events take place each year to raise funds to support the museum’s activities.
The Goods Shed
Believed erected at the same time as the main station buildings in 1891, this was the main centre of activity of the station until freight activity on the line ceased in 1962. The small building on the end of the main building was the office of the Goods Clerk. The building was used mainly for goods needing protection from the weather, or of value, bulk goods such as coal or other minerals being unloaded in the yard. The crane is from Saffron Walden Goods Shed and was rebuilt here in 1993.
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