Ely and St Ives Railway

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Ely & St Ives Railway
to Kings Lynn
to Norwich
to March
0 Ely
to Ipswich
to Cambridge
Stretham
Wilburton
Haddenham
Sutton
12 Earith Bridge
14 Bluntisham
to March
Needingworth Junction
to Huntingdon
17¾ St Ives
Cambridge and
Huntingdon Railway

The Ely and St Ives Railway (formerly the Ely, Haddenham & Sutton Railway) is a closed railway that ran between Ely, Cambridgeshire, and St Ives. The route was 17.75 miles (29 km) long single track, built to standard gauge and was completely closed on 5 October 1964. It has been completely dismantled.

History[edit]

The line was first authorised from Ely to Sutton through Haddenham as an independent line of which the Great Eastern Railway had a third share of the capital. The GER would also provide staff, locomotives and rolling stock in return for 50% of the gross takings. The line opened on 16 April 1866.

An extension to St Ives was opened on 11 May 1878 when the official title of the company changed to the Ely & St Ives Railway. In 1898 the Great Eastern finally bought out the company.

Passenger traffic had never been very high, due to the distance of the stations from the villages and on 2 February 1931 ordinary passenger services were withdrawn. The section of the line between Bluntisham and Sutton was the first to close on 6 October 1958, followed by the Ely to Sutton section on 13 July 1964, leaving the Needingworth Junction to Bluntisham section, which closed on 5 October 1964.

Services[edit]

Passenger[edit]

There were typically three return trips a day between Ely and St Ives, stopping at all stations. There was an additional return trip on Mondays and Thursdays. The time between Ely and St Ives was about 45 minutes.

Sutton and Haddenham were the busiest stations but there were few passengers. In 1927 the line recorded 15,000 passengers and ran 2,100 passenger trains, an average of only seven or eight passengers per train. Ordinary passenger services ceased on 2 February 1931.

Goods[edit]

The early traffic was wheat, coal and potatoes, but this started to change in the 1890s to fruit. Haddenham and Sutton were the main goods yards with extensive sidings. Sugar beet was also transported to the mill at Ely.

Stations[edit]

Stretham[edit]

Stretham was the first station in line from Ely (not by opening date, but by order in which trains served passengers). The station building can still be seen on Stretham Station Road.

Wilburton[edit]

Wilburton station building is now incorporated into a much enlarged private house.

Haddenham[edit]

Haddenham station is now an industrial estate in the north of the village. It is on the present day A1421 road between Haddenham and Sutton-in-the-Isle. At Haddenham, the railway makes a severe curve to the north.

Sutton[edit]

This station serves the village of Sutton-in-the-Isle. Remains of the freight shed still exist and are owned by a private company.

Earith Bridge[edit]

Due to the dykes at the Old Bedford River and New Bedford River, the railway could not serve the village of Earith directly. Instead, it ran south of the village near to the present-day marinas.

Bluntisham[edit]

This station was the final station in line before St Ives Junction. It served the village of Bluntisham. The station still survives to this day complete with both platforms and is used as a home.

Needingworth Junction[edit]

The A1096 between St Ives and the A14 now uses the embankment of the former railway. The station has been demolished.

Needingworth junction was approximately 1 mile east of St-Ives where the railway branched off right to Bluntisham, Earith, Sutton and Ely or headed straight to Somersham, Chatteris and March. Much of the railway embankment still survives to this day albeit overgrown to where the line used to pass under Bluntisham heath road bridge which was used for landfill sometime in the early 1980s. Blink bridge the wrought iron railway bridge 100yds north of Needingworth junction also survives.

Sources[edit]

  • RS Joby. The Ely & St Ives Railway. Norwich: Klofron. 

External links[edit]