Home | Quickinfo | Business | Travelling | Rail Directory | Tourism | Local History | Rayner Artists | Science Fiction Serials

  Needham Market
  Bury St Edmunds

A full list of routes covered by Dudley Mall appears at the bottom of this page.
This line once had several imposing stations. Some are now gone while others have found new uses. Stowmarket remains as a major commuter station, and its large car park is in the distance to the right.

Wheels: IC.  If you're on wheels, see our Easy Access page for explanation.
Ipswich plan IPSWICH We have not yet visited this station: the drawing and the following notes are from fragments elsewhere and must be regarded as approximate only. The station is on the south side of the River Gipping, where Princes Street crosses it to meet Ranelagh Road and Burrell Road (B1073). This is a major regional station with four platforms and is staffed at all times, with tickets available from early morning to late evening, and news/food during daytime. It retains its traditional buildings and canopies, and access to the platforms is by stepped overbridge. Wheelchair users will need staff assistance to use a footboard crossing at the east end of the station, as it is their only way across and close to a tunnel mouth (many freight trains pass through the station at speed). Outside there is disabled and 20-minute parking, with a multi-storey car park nearby. Wheels: 1/2/3/4

Needham Market looking eastNEEDHAM MARKET This station has a magnificent old building, but it doesn't serve the railway anymore. It is approached by Station Yard, a northeast turn off the southern end of the High Street. It is signed, and is funnel shaped, opening out into a shopping area with local parking each side and the station building at the wide end. There is free rail-user parking for about 16 cars, plus disabled spaces. The station is unstaffed and lacks facilities, but does have a lot of canopy cover plus seats on the
Needham Market plan Cambridge side. However, wheeled users would be better heading for Stowmarket as the only way across the tracks here is by a stepped subway under the line at the western end. The Ipswich platform has an open-fronted brick-built shelter and video train information is provided on both sides. [revisited 2008] Wheels: IC.

The photo shows the subway coming up at left to the Ipswich platform, and the brick shelter can be seen further along. At right, the canopy provides a lot of shelter for west-bound travellers.

Stowmarket looking west STOWMARKET station is just north-east of the town centre, approached by Station Road. Whilst traditional in its buildings, Stowmarket has been developed as a major commuter station, with parking for 200+ cars. With that volume of clientele, the station has ticket staff from early morning until early evening, and also offers toilets and refreshments. But although the station is described as step-free access, not all doors will admit a wheelchair, and the only direct link between platforms is an overbridge which we recall as steps only. However, there is a ramp off the west end of the Ipswich platform, and while we don't see where the ramp actually goes, it should eventually link with Stowupland Road and thence to the level crossing.
Stowmarket plan The photograph shows the Cambridge platform, but the Ipswich side has a canopy of considerable length attached to a curtain wall with a waiting room set into it, and another shelter near the platform end, so there is plenty of cover on both sides. Wheels: IC.

Stowmarket is the branching point for Diss and Norwich, which follow immediately below. To continue along the Cambridge line, jump two stations down to Elmswell.

   Stowmarket to Norwich Line

Diss looking north DISS Diss is a semi-industrial town in a rural area, lying at a confluence of major roads, but at some distance from other large towns and stations. It's also on a direct electrified route (via Ipswich) to London in the south, and of course Norwich to the north. Its commuter car park (pay and display) takes up a large part of the former goods yard and was virtually full when we called on a weekday. There is parking on the Norwich side of the line as well, with its own approach from the main road. Our photos did not capture wheeled access to this from the platform, though it may be right at the northern end, beyond the waiting room. There is no way across the line other than by the road
   Diss plan system, so the Norwich side has a reduced wheels rating to reflect the long trip to reclaim your car on the return journey. The Ipswich platform has a ramp to it, but the original station building nearby has steps from the street and again up to the platform. For walking passengers, this offers ticket booking from early morning to late evening, plus toilets, snacks and a waiting room. The photo is from the overbridge, looking towards Norwich. Wheels: IN.

   Norwich plan NORWICH is a grand, traditional station from outside - and looks a lot fresher than some of its soot-darkened contemporaries in industrial cities. Better still, the main concourse has had a modern facelift that has created an extremely pleasant environment, with open seating areas, a cafe, food stalls, books and newspapers, cash dispensers and telephones arranged as a central island, and plenty of flowers in planters and hanging baskets. There is also a waiting room by the entrance to platform 1. All this is under a light overall roof, and there are canopies along the platforms as well. Because it's a terminus, all trains terminate or reverse direction here. The station is well signed to its east-of-city-centre location, with pay-and-display parking in front and 20 minute pick-up parking round the right side. Access is level at the Thorpe Road entrance, but Station Approach is an incline. Wheels: IN.

Norwich platform   Norwich also serves:
the Norwich to Cambridge route
the Norwich to Great Yarmouth route
the Norwich to Lowestoft route
the Norwich to Sheringham route
   Norwich frontage
This terminates the Ipswich - Norwich route. Stations below continue the Ipswich - Cambridge route.

ELMSWELL The original station building on the Ipswich platform at Elmswell has been demolished and only a modern bus shelter now remains to provide weather screening. On the Cambridge side, the canopied waiting room has become the major building, but only the canopy is available to passengers as the building itself has been sold for commercial use. There is a ramp from beside it down to ground level, and the other platform is also easily accessed from beside the level crossing on Station Road. One thing we didn't notice on our visit was much evidence of road signing to the station, but maybe we were just unlucky. Wheels: IC.
Elmswell looking west                        Elmswell plan

THURSTON is a two-platform station standing high on an embankment for the most part. It was built with rather striking buildings, but the traffic never grew to match so the Cambridge side building was demolished and now has a bus shelter. The other building is now in non-railway use, but maintains a short canopy for passengers. This reduction means the station is unstaffed and has no other facilities. Access between the platforms is by a footboard at the Ipswich end. Our notes say that the station was not wheelchair friendly, but National Rail records the station as stepless access, and the station appears on the limited mobility map. Our wheels rating therefore assumes that our site sketch omitted a ramp - probably at the footboard end. Wheels: IC.

Thurston viewed from the footboard end.
Thurston from the east                        
Thurston plan

Bury St. Edmunds looking towards Ipswich BURY ST. EDMUNDS This station has most of the dressings of its 1847 glory and its frontage looks well kept, with flowers and a recently painted canopy at its entrance. It has a somewhat modernised foyer and lifts added at either end of the underpass that links the two platforms. Both sides still have long canopies with seats, and both have waiting rooms. But other things are sealed off, and if you go to the former entrance behind the Cambridge
Bury St. Edmunds plan platform, you can see that the building is closed-up and rather woebegone. Like other stations that used to have fast tracks through the middle, the removal of them has produced a somewhat empty look, but there are also intriguing bits of architecture like the towers on either side at the west end which once supported an overall roof. (It's too late to pine - that went in 1893.) What we miss now are newspapers and refreshments, but Bury does have staff from early morning to early evening, toilets, phones and other facilities, and we'd rather wait for trains here than at many stations. Out front is a car park charged at day-rate, plus a 20 minute pick-up area, and it all looks reasonably easy access. Wheels: IC.

KENNETT Kennett station lies immediately to the north of, and tight alongside, the A14 - though its access is from a local road, the B1085. From its overbridge (south of the village), a gravel track leads down to free parking for a dozen vehicles. The old buildings have been demolished, though some of the space may now be in other use. The station is unstaffed, and has probably never been large.
Kennett looking east
Kennett plan It now accommodates 3-coach multiple-unit trains at each of the staggered platforms. These are linked by a footboard which crosses the two tracks right by a signal box. Given the speed at which some trains approach the station, care should be taken in crossing the line. Both platforms have small bus shelters. Wheels: IC.

Newmarket looking towards Ipswich NEWMARKET With all the large horse-training and stables-related signs that point to Newmarket's major industry, it's perhaps not surprising that there was no room left for signs to the station (at least we never saw any) and we had to stop and ask directions. A substantial station building does remain, but it currently sells fabrics and may own the car park. The line is single from just east of Newmarket through to Cambridge and the sole platform has one large and two small bus shelters with thin seats for about 30 people. There are no access problems. A small road leads directly to this sheltered end, and there are ramps for the few-feet rise to platform level. There is a handful of spaces here, otherwise street parking will probably suffice.
Newmarket plan But should you come rushing for a train, do allow for the horse crossing at the east end of Newmarket. We saw 50 horses cross in overlapping strings, the horses have right of way, and in this town they're worth a lot more than you are. Wheels: IC.

The photo looks east towards Ipswich.

DULLINGHAM We have not yet visited this station. Our notes are based on fragments from elsewhere and these and the plan may contain errors. The station is about 3/4 mile west of Dullingham village at a level crossing on Station Road (unnumbered) and there are apparently 10 free parking spaces, probably in the position suggested on the plan. The station has been shorn of its passenger buildings on both platforms, though we understand that a bus shelter stands close to the signal cabin. There is no shelter on the other platform, but most trains use the platform by the signal box. Platform access should be straightforward from beside the level crossing. The platforms have been slightly shortened, but this should not inconvenience anyone. Our thanks to Tim Owen, Carrack Conservation, for additional information included here. Wheels: IC.
The photograph is courtesy of an unknown photographer [thank you] and Wikipedia. The double track is actually a passing loop and the line goes single at either end of the station. dullingham plan Dullingham looking towards Ipswich

CAMBRIDGE Station not yet visited, and we were unable to trace enough information to create a temporary entry. Sorry! Wheels: Unknown.

Cambridge also serves the Norwich to Cambridge route
and the Leicester to Cambridge route

Please note: the notes and sketches are intended only to give a general impression, and should not be relied upon for more than that. Dudley Mall accepts no liability for errors, but will correct any significant ones notified to us through or by post to Dudley Mall, 62 Gervase Drive, Dudley, West Midlands DY1 4AT.

Routes and Resources Table: Front Information Page Birmingham All-Stations Map
  Central Region Routes Map Full Routes Scroll Map
Stations A-Z      
Birmingham New Street Station
Birmingham - Cheltenham & Bristol
Birmingham - Coventry & London Euston
Birmingham - Derby & Nottingham
Birmingham - Kidderminster & Worcester
Birmingham - Leamington Spa
Birmingham - Leicester
Birmingham - Lichfield
Birmingham - Redditch & Worcester
Birmingham - Rugeley
Birmingham - Stratford-upon-Avon
Bristol - Exeter
Cheltenham Spa - Cardiff
Chester - Hereford & Cardiff
Chester - Llandudno
Crewe - Shrewsbury
Crewe & Stoke - Wolverhampton & Birmingham
Derby & Nottingham - Bedford & London
Ipswich - Cambridge & Norwich
Leamington Spa - London
Leamington Spa - Oxford
Leicester - Cambridge
Lowestoft - Ipswich & Felixstowe
Manchester - Crewe via M. Airport
Manchester - Crewe via Stockport
Norwich - Cambridge
Norwich - Great Yarmouth
Norwich - Lowestoft
Norwich - Sheringham
Nottingham - Grantham
Oxford - Bicester
Shrewsbury - Llandrindod
Stafford - Rugby via Trent Valley
Stoke-on-Trent - Derby      
Walsall - Shrewsbury
Worcester - Hereford
Worcester - Oxford
Back to top

Copyright 2008 Dudley Mall.

  Home | Quickinfo | Business | Travelling | Rail Directory | Tourism | Local History | Rayner Artists | Science Fiction Serials

Email Dudley Mall at:    Dudley Mall, 62 Gervase Drive, Dudley, West Midlands DY1 4AT