Series of events will celebrate 175 years of Essex railway line

Published on: Tuesday, 11 June 2024
Last updated: Tuesday, 11 June 2024

reater Anglia train passing over CChappel Viaduct on the Marks Tey - Sudbury Gainsborough Line.

Above: Greater Anglia train passing over Chappel Viaduct on the Marks Tey - Sudbury Gainsborough Line. Credit: Greater Anglia

A series of events will take place in June to mark the 175 years of the Marks Tey – Sudbury railway line.

Known as the Gainsborough Line, commemorating the painter, Thomas Gainsborough, who was born in Sudbury, the line first opened on 2 July 1849.

To mark the 175th anniversary, the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership (CRP), working with Greater Anglia, station adopter volunteers and local organisations, have planned a series of events on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 June.

The fun starts with a free guided walk from Marks Tey station to Chappel & Wakes Colne station at 10.15am on Saturday 29 June. It will be led by Hugh Turner a relative of Chappel viaduct designer, Peter Bruff.

In the evening, there will be entertainment on board the ‘Old Time Music Hall’ train. The special event train will leave Marks Tey at 19.01pm and will provide guests with music on board. The will also be an opportunity to singalong and dress up in Victorian costumes. The return journey is included within the ticket. Tickets are £5 for adults £3 for children available from

On Sunday 30 June, the celebrations continue with a series of events at the East Anglian Railway Museum, located at Chappel & Wakes Colne station from 13.30pm, with an opening ceremony, family picnic with games and activities and the opportunity to explore the museum (entry will be free for local people, otherwise usual entry fees apply).

For more Museum event details see

In Sudbury, at Gainsborough’s House Museum, there will be two lectures from Dr Steven Parissien at 11.00 and 14.00 on Sunday 30 June.The first lecture will explore how the coming of the railway completely changed the lives of every Briton, the second will analyse the changes in taste, style, and ambition of English railway stations.

Lectures are £18 each or £30 for both, including entrance to the museum. For more information:

Jayne Sumner, Rail Engagement Manager of the Essex & South Suffolk CRP, said,

"We are delighted to hold this fun weekend of events with the help of our partners and Greater Anglia to mark this important milestone.

“175 years on and the line still plays an integral role in the area’s economy, enabling greater connectivity for residents and visitors, and we look forward to helping it continue to thrive in the future.”

Greater Anglia’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Jonathan Denby, said,

"After 175 years, the Gainsborough line continues to go from strength to strength, benefiting from the introduction of our high-quality and brand-new trains, with a regular and punctual service.

“We are grateful for the ongoing support of the Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership, our amazing team of station adopter volunteers, and other local partners in ensuring a bright future for the line and the communities it serves.”