Derby Road railway station

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Derby Road National Rail
Derby Road
Looking towards Ipswich
Place Ipswich
Local authority Ipswich
Grid reference TM183439
Station code DBR
Managed by Abellio Greater Anglia
Number of platforms 2
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2004/05   30,872
2005/06 Increase 32,525
2006/07 Increase 35,937
2007/08 Increase 39,319
2008/09 Decrease 38,920
2009/10 Decrease 35,868
2010/11 Increase 37,544
2011/12 Increase 43,220
2012/13 Increase 45,720
Key dates Opened 1 May 1877 (1 May 1877)
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Derby Road from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal
View eastward, towards Felixstowe, in 1997

Derby Road railway station serves the Rose Hill area of Ipswich in Suffolk, England. It is on the Felixstowe Branch Line, 6.10 miles (9.82 km) from Ipswich railway station at milepost 74¾ (measured from London Liverpool Street station).

The railway station was opened by the Felixstowe Railway and Pier Company in 1877. Passenger trains in 2012 are operated by Abellio Greater Anglia but the line also carries numerous freight trains to the Port of Felixstowe which are operated by DB Schenker, Freightliner and GB Railfreight.


The Act of Parliament for the Felixstowe Railway and Pier was granted on 19 July 1875. It was soon built and opened, along with the station at 'Derby Road (Ipswich)', on 1 May 1877. The Suffolk Chronicle described its location as 'the most inconvenient and out-of-the way spot which could have been selected' and during the line's pre-opening inspection by the Board of Trade, the mayor of Ipswich unsuccessfully made representations for an additional station half mile to the north between Spring Road and Woodbridge Road.[1]

On 1 September 1879 the GER took over operation of the line, although the Felixstowe company retained ownership until 5 July 1887 when it sold the railway to the GER. In October 1879 the 'Ipswich' suffix was dropped from the station name and some trains now continued beyond Westerfield to the main Ipswich railway station. This allowed better connections with trains on the GER main line but that station, like Derby Road, was outside the commercial centre of the town.[1]

Preceding station Historical railways Following station
Westerfield   Great Eastern Railway
Felixstowe Branch Line

People living on the eastern side of the town generally preferred to use Derby Road when travelling to Felixstowe and the station could be very busy on sunny weekends with day trippers to Felixstowe Beach and Felixstowe Pier stations. They could reach the station on the Ipswich Tramway which terminated outside the station entrance. As a consequence many trains from Felixstowe turned round here instead of continuing the final 6.10 miles (9.82 km) to Ipswich station.[2] The station was rebuilt with a second platform in 1891.[3][4]

An accelerated diesel-powered service was introduced to the branch on 15 June 1959. Orwell station was closed, but the time from Ipswich to Felixstowe Town was reduced from 35 to 24 minutes which allowed a diesel multiple unit to work there and back within an hour. In 1967 the branch was converted to "Pay Train" operation, with all fares being collected by the guard so that staff were no longer needed at the station other than a signalman. By the end of that year passenger trains no longer continued beyond Felixstowe Town but that part of the line was retained for a few freight services to Felixstowe docks which had just started to handle shipping containers.[5]

By 1986 there were 12 to 13 container trains passing through Derby Road in each direction to and from Felixstowe.[6] These lengthy trains could not pass at Derby Road as the loop was too short, and the large number of these trains was causing disruption to the passenger service which was running less frequently than in the past. To resolve these issues the loop was extended in 1999. At the same time the signal box was closed and control of the line transferred to Colchester Panel Signal Box.[7]

The bridge under Derby Road was rebuilt in 2003 to take the higher containers from Felixstowe Docks. The temporary footbridge erected at this time is still extant although disused.[citation needed] A planning application was made in 2011 which will see the demolition of the station buildings, removal of the car park and cycle racks. An old people's home will be built in its place.[8]


When the station opened it had a single platform on the north side of the line (despite the town centre being on the other side). Sidings on both side of the line were accessed from the Felixstowe end of the station; a two-arch bridge carried the road over the line at the other end. A passing loop was added in 1891 which allowed another platform to be added on the south side of the line where a signal box was situated. More sidings were added over the years, including ones serving coal merchants and a scrap yard.[9][10]

In 2012 both platforms are still in use. The station offices on the eastbound platform are still standing but unused; on the westbound platform there is just a modern waiting shelter.


An Ipswich to Felixstowe passenger train passes a container train from Felixstowe at Derby Road

When the railway opened in 1877 there were six trains to and from Felixstowe and four to and from Westerfield.[1] By 1939 this had increased to 20 Felixstowe services, most of which continued through to Ipswich.[11] In 1973 this had been reduced to just 13 trains each way, all of which now ran through tom Ipswich.[12]

Trains in 2012 are operated by Abellio Greater Anglia. There are 18 trains each way Monday to Friday calling at all stations between Ipswich and Felixstowe. They run every hour for most of the day but start later on Sundays than on weekdays.[13] They are usually formed by a single-car Class 153.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Abellio Greater Anglia


  1. ^ a b c Quayle, H.I.; Bradbury, G.T. (1978). The Felixstowe Railway. Blandford Forum: The Oakwood Press. pp. 5–9. 
  2. ^ Derby Road is 6.10 miles (9.82 km) from Ipswich station by train, but only 1.5 miles (2.4 km) across the town on a map.
  3. ^ Quayle & Bradbury 1978, pp. 16-19
  4. ^ Quayle & Bradbury 1978, p. 48
  5. ^ Quayle & Bradbury 1978, pp. 34–37
  6. ^ "Trimley cut-off gets go-ahead". Modern Railways (Ian Allan) 43 (451): 183. April 1986. ISSN 0076-8356. 
  7. ^ Abbott, James (April 1999). "Rail Freight". Modern Railways (Ian Allan) 56 (607): 244–248. ISSN 0076-8356. 
  8. ^ Rail Magazine 677
  9. ^ Quayle & Bradbury 1978, p. 44
  10. ^ Adderson, Richard; Kenworthy, Graham (2003). Branch Lines to Felixstowe and Aldeburgh. Midhurst: Middleton Press. Figs. 7–11. ISBN 978-1-904474-20-3. 
  11. ^ Quayle & Bradbury 1978, p. 17
  12. ^ Quayle & Bradbury 1978, p. 37
  13. ^ "Ipswich – Felixstowe and Lowestoft". National Rail. May 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 

Coordinates: 52°03′04″N 1°10′59″E / 52.051°N 1.183°E / 52.051; 1.183