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Soon to steam into Diss: a talk about the 'Middy'

PUBLISHED: 11:57 01 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:47 04 July 2019

Mid-Suffolk Light Railway will be the subject of a talk in Diss. Picture: Gregg Brown

Mid-Suffolk Light Railway will be the subject of a talk in Diss. Picture: Gregg Brown

Archant

Work is currently full steam ahead to more than double the length of the Mid Suffolk Light Railway, and the history of the 'Middy' will be the subject of a special talk in Diss.

Mid-Suffolk Light Railway will be the subject of a talk in Diss. Picture: Rachel EdgeMid-Suffolk Light Railway will be the subject of a talk in Diss. Picture: Rachel Edge

Expert John Stark will look at the history of this quintessential English light railway which has meandered through the heart of the Suffolk countryside for around 50 years.

The Mid-Suffolk Light Railway was originally envisaged as a way of opening up the central areas of Suffolk, made up predominantly of farming communities, to the rest of the county and the country.

Mid-Suffolk Light Railway will be the subject of a talk in Diss. Picture: Rachel EdgeMid-Suffolk Light Railway will be the subject of a talk in Diss. Picture: Rachel Edge

In his Friends of Diss Museum talk, Mr Stark will tell how the original plan for the MSLR was for it to cross central Suffolk, however because of financial difficulties, managerial issues and some disagreements with Great Eastern Railway it was curtailed.

It meant the line was bankrupt before it started but struggled on serving its local community as an independent railway, as part of the LNER, and then as part of BR until its closure in 1952.

In 1990, a society was formed to keep the memories of the 'Middy' alive. A year later they formed a museum that recreates a slice of Edwardian life.

This year visitors are able to see the progress on the reconstruction of the Middy's own locomotive, Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0T no. 1604, which is now rapidly taking shape after many years of restoration. And work has also started on the extension of the line to just over twice its current length to the destination station, Aspall Halt.

The talk will take place at St Mary's Church Hall, Mount Street, Diss, on Friday July 19, 7.30pm. Non-members entry £5, pay at the door. All are welcome.

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