Colne Valley Railway

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Colne Valley Railway
Castle Hedingham station on the Colne Valley railway
Coordinates 51°59′48″N 0°34′47″E / 51.9966°N 0.5798°E / 51.9966; 0.5798Coordinates: 51°59′48″N 0°34′47″E / 51.9966°N 0.5798°E / 51.9966; 0.5798
Commercial operations
Built by Colne Valley and Halstead Railway
Original gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Preserved operations
Preserved gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Commercial history
Opened 1861/1863
Closed 1961 Passenger traffic
1965 Freight traffic
Preservation history
1973 land purchase
1974 Preservation Society formed
Headquarters Castle Hedingham Station
Colne Valley and Halstead Railway
Stour Valley Railway
Haverhill (South-CVHR)
Haverhill (North)
Stour Valley Railway
(Closed to Sudbury)
Hedingham (heritage railway)
Sible and Castle Hedingham
Earls Colne
Gainsborough Line
White Colne
(Open to Sudbury)
Chappel and Wakes Colne
Gainsborough Line

The Colne Valley Railway is a heritage railway based at Castle Hedingham Station, near Halstead in Essex, England. The railway consists of a 1 mile (1.6 km) long running line, with a fully reconstructed station, signal box and railway yard.


The railway occupies part of the former Colne Valley and Halstead Railway (CVHR), which opened in stages between 16 April 1860 and 10 May 1863.[1] This part of the railway was a through line from Birdbrook to Wakes Colne.

The line remained open until 1 January 1962, when all passenger traffic, and freight traffic between Haverhill and Yeldham ended. On 19 April 1965, all freight traffic ended.[1] The line was demolished a year later.


The land was purchased in 1973 and the preservation society was formed in 1974. The first steam locomotive to arrive on site was No.WD190 shortly followed by No.72. Members of the preservation society began to operate the locomotives on a short section of line, which developed into a tourist attraction.

Although originally a main line railway, the track was taken up in the late 60s, during the Beeching axe era, so when the railway was purchased there was no remaining infrastructure. The original Hedingham station was one mile away and was taken down carefully brick by brick. The bricks were numbered so that it could be easily and correctly reassembled on the preservation site.

The Hedingham signal box came from Cressing. The timber top half (first floor) was saved for preservation and remounted on a new higher (ground floor) brick base re-constructed for it. The bridge crossing the River Colne came from Earls Colne in 1982.

Despite its short length, the CVR is home to three ex-mainline steam locomotives and holds Pullman dining services on a monthly basis.


The Colne Valley Railway will operate for the last time on 31 December 2015. The Colne Valley Railway Preservation Society were informed at their Annual General Meeting on 22 March 2015 that the owner of the site had decided the railway no longer featured in his plans for the Hedingham Castle estate.[2]

Planning permission would be sought for redevelopment of the site, which lies in a conservation area. The society were served notice that operations must cease after 31 December 2015, with the society having to remove all its rolling stock and buildings during 2016,[2] with possibility of relocation to another heritage railway, elsewhere.[3]

Motive power[edit]

Steam locomotives[edit]

Origin Wheel
Class Notes Photograph
LMS 4-6-0 Class 5MT No. 45163 built 1935, Under restoration.[2]
LMS 4-6-0 Class 5MT No. 45293 built 1936, Under restoration.[2]
SR 4-6-2 Merchant Navy Class No. 35010 Blue Star, built 1942. Under external restoration.[2] 35010 Blue Star at Colne Valley Railway.jpg
Hunslet 0-6-0ST Austerity No. WD190,[2] built in 1952. Operational.
Hunslet 0-6-0ST Austerity No. WD200,[2] built in 1953. Under restoration/overhaul.
Avonside 0-4-0ST Barrington, built 1921. Under overhaul.
Hawthorne Leslie 0-4-0ST No. 1, built in 1928. External restoration.[2] Castle Donnington engine - Colne Valley railway - Dec 2011.jpg
RSH 0-6-0ST 56 No. 60 Jupiter,[2] built in 1950. Under restoration/ overhaul.

Diesel locomotives[edit]

Origin Wheel
Class Notes Photograph
BR 0-6-0DM Class 03 No. D2041, operational. D2041 at Colne Valley Railway.jpg
BR 0-6-0DM Class 03 No. D2184, operational. D2184 at the Colne Valley Railway.jpg
BR 0-6-0DM Class 08 No. 08 411, under restoration Colne Valley Railway 978.jpg
BR A1A-A1A Class 31 No. 31 255, operational 31255 at Colne Valley Railway.jpg
BR Co-Co Class 47 No. 47 771 Heaton Traincare Depot, under restoration 47771 at Colne Valley Railway-2.jpg
Ruston & Hornsby 0-4-0DM No. YD43, ex-Admiralty. operational Colne Valley Railway 994.jpg
Andrew Barclay Sons & Co. 4wDM No. 349/41, operational

Diesel multiple units[edit]

Origin Class Notes Photograph
BR Class 121 No. 55033, operational W55033 at Colne Valley Railway 2.JPG
BR Class 121 No. 56287, operational
BR Class 141 No. 141 108, operational IMAG1582.JPG
AC Cars / BR Railbus No. W79978, static display. W79978 at Colne Valley Railway.jpg


  1. ^ a b Gordon, D. I. (1990). A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain. Volume 5, The Eastern Counties. Newton Abbot / North Pomfret: David St. John Thomas / David and Charles. pp. 162, 167. ISBN 0 946537 55 0. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Colne Valley shock: railway will close on December 31". Steam Railway (Peterborough: Bauer Consumer Media) (439): pp16–17. 27 March 2015. ISSN 0143-7232. 
  3. ^ "Colne Valley cash Conundrum". Steam Railway (Peterborough: Bauer Consumer Media) (440): pp28–29. 24 April 2015. ISSN 0143-7232. 

External links[edit]