Colne Valley and Halstead Railway
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|Colne Valley and Halstead Railway|
A railway in the Colne Valley was first proposed in 1846 when the Colchester, Stour Valley, Sudbury and Halstead Railway Company was incorporated to build a line from Marks Tey on the Eastern Counties Railway to Sudbury, with a branch to Halstead and a line from Colchester to Hythe. A later extension to Bury St. Edmunds and Clare was also approved, however a shortage of funds resulted in only the Stour Valley Railway to Sudbury and the line to Hythe being built.
In 1856, the Colne Valley and Halstead Railway Company was formed by local people to build a branch line from Chappel and Wakes Colne railway station to Halstead. It was authorised on 30 June 1856, and opened on 16 April 1860 between Chappel (north of Marks Tey) and Halstead, a distance of 6 miles (10 km).
A 13 miles (21 km) extension was authorised on 13 August 1859 and opened in stages:
- 1 July 1861 Halstead–Castle Hedingham
- 26 May 1862 Castle Hedingham–Yeldham
- 10 May 1863 Yeldham–Haverhill (CVHR)
Physical connection with the Stour Valley Railway at Haverhill was provided in 1865, and although close relations were maintained with the Great Eastern Railway, the Colne Valley and Halstead Railway remained completely independent until it became part of the London and North Eastern Railway in the 1923 regrouping. The CVHR station, renamed Haverhill South, was closed to passengers in 1924 but remained open for goods until 1965.
Heritage railway preservation
The line remained open until 30 December 1961, when passenger traffic ended. In 1965, freight traffic ended, and the line was taken up a year later.
A mile of track was reconstructed in 1973-75 as the Colne Valley Railway, including Castle Hedingham station. In 2012, the site of the former Yeldham station was cleared for a pathway[clarification needed], the most likely site for any future extension.
- "The Colne Valley & Halstead Railway Co. Ltd". Retrieved 2009-05-04.
- Railway Magazine December 1958 p. 890