The station was opened in 1859 by the East Suffolk railway, although this would be almost immediately amalgamated into the eastern counties railway the same year. Eventually like all along the line it would become part of the Great Eastern railway in 1862.
A branch line to Framlingham carried freight and passengers from Wickham Market station, up until 1952 when it was closed to passenger traffic, and the line was fully closed in 1965. However the branch line platform can still be seen at the far end of the current platform towards Ipswich.
The station was quite popular right up until the late 1950’s, it even boasted a WH Smith bookstore. A level crossing went over the tracks at the north end of the platform, but was replaced by road bridge in 1902, and the current bridge was erected in 2005.
The most important thing about the station however is that it not actually in Wickham Market, but in a small village called Campsea Ashe. The reason for this placement was all due to the river Deben, which had a tendency to flood around the village. Also the village was also on a gradient, so the decision was made to build it on this current site.
It does however take around 45 minutes to walk to Wickham Market from here. As there are no direct paths over the river. A taxi will take 10 minutes.
The station building has had a chequered history. Designed by Francis Thompson, it is very striking and quite large for a station of this size.
It had largely laid dormant since 2005, but in 2013 a charitable community benefits society was set up to regenerate the building. Called “Station House Community Connection LTD” its aim was to refurbish the station and bring it back to life as a community hub.
After a lot of fundraising efforts and a lot of dedication, the fully refurbished building re-opened in 2017. It shows off not only the buildings history, but combining it with a community function. The very impressive canopy on the platform was re-instated, with a complete recasting of the colonnades, based on the original 1880 design. This was carried out by Hargreaves foundry in Halifax.
Benches on the platform still contain the Great Eastern Railway insignia, and are also lovingly restored. On the walls can be seen two plaques commemorating the regeneration of this fine building.
Entering the building you will see an electronic information board, as well as interactive screens telling you about the history of the station. A small lending library is near the doors, and disabled lift is also here to get you up to the second floor meeting areas.
To the rear is a fantastic café, with both indoor and outdoor seating. A good variety of drinks, cakes and sandwiches are on offer, and it is a very pleasant place to spend a while whist waiting for your train.
On the walls are pictures about the stations history, with a few dedicated to the refurbishment. Various rooms are available for hire and the whole project is a testament to all involved. It just goes to show what can be achieved if everyone pulls together.
The station building does not have a booking desk though, so buying a ticket must be done via the electronic machine on the platform. Other facilities include information boards, timetables and a small bike rack on the platform.
At time of writing, one hourly passenger services (in each direction) are provided by Class 755 Bi-Mode units.
I really enjoyed this station, the staff were very helpful in telling me the history of the station, and the care and attention to detail is to be commended. A good place to visit for a drink and snack and a must to see the platform with the excellent restored details in place.
A link to a Vlog I filmed in 2020 is here :
A link is here to the station building :
Station House Campsea Ashe for Community and Business
And also to a video showing the colonnades casting :