Derby Road was opened in 1877 by the Felixstowe railway, and was amalgamated into the Great Eastern Railway in 1879. It only had one platform originally, but due to popularity gained a second one in 1891
This popularity was due to the Ipswich tramway terminating at this point. Passengers going to Felixstowe for the day would get the tram from Ipswich and get the train from Derby Road. In fact, during the summer many trains would terminate at Derby Road from Felixstowe, instead of going though to Ipswich
The trams continued until 1926 when they were replaced by trolleybuses, but these too were fully phased out by 1962. Some of these can still be seen at the Ipswich transport museum, a link to which is at the end of this blog.
Getting back to the station, it also had two sidings, which were increased during the early 20th century, but like most in the country were phased out by the late 1960’s
The station building still stands, although not used today. Originally it had a fine canopy and a similar structure was to be seen on the other platform. This other building no longer survives, as well as the canopy on the main building. The other notable absentee is the signal box which was on the Felixstowe side of the station.
However, this does not mean the station has been left unkept. In fact in late 2020, work was started to create a wildflower garden on the entrance to platform one. Supported by the East Suffolk Community Rail Partnership, Greater Anglia Railway, Ipswich Friends of the Earth and Ipswich Council, it really adds colour to the station and makes it feel very well looked after.
An additional poppy patch is situated on the Felixstowe end of platform two.
Many of the freight headed towards Felixstowe will stop here, as the line after the station becomes single line running for a few miles. These are at time of writing mostly hauled by class 66 locomotives, and passenger traffic is provided by class 755 Bi-Mode units.
The entry and exit figures for 2019 / 2020 were 46, 808.
In conclusion, Derby road was once an important interchange for the passengers from Ipswich to the coastal town of Felixstowe. However after the 1960’s, most passenger traffic would be confined to the local area. The expansion of Felixstowe port has brought many more freight trains through the station, these quite often stop in the loop. Great views can be had of both freight and passenger traffic, especially through the curves towards Ipswich. The station benefits from the new wildflower garden, and generally speaking is a good place for the intermodal freight enthusiast.
My Vlog, taken in 2021, can be seen below
The Ipswich Transport Museum can be found here: