A large village between Stowmarket and Bury St Edmonds, Elmswell is certainly deserving of a station with a rich history of manufacture.
The line was opened by the Ipswich and Bury railway company in 1846, serving the towns of Bury St Edmonds and Ipswich. A lavish station building on the Ipswich side was built and opened at the same time.
The station passed onto the newly formed Great Eastern Railway in 1862, who added a waiting room and toilets on the Bury St Edmonds side of the station.
In the early 1900’s, a line ran from the sidings to the west of the station to the Woolpit Brick Company, which famously produced white bricks. It used three steam locomotives. Other companies which used siding space during the 1900’s were a bacon factory, Beer & Sons and St Edmundsbury Co-op. Due to lack of traffic, the yard closed in 1964.
Elmswell became an unstaffed halt in 1967, and ‘Pay-Train’ working was to be introduced on the line. Unfortunately the main station buildings on the north platform were demolished in 1974 and the signal box succumbed to the same fate in 1986.
However, the buildings on the other platform remain. These still retain the Great Eastern Railway marking on the canopy steel works, and look to have been freshly painted when I visited in 2021.
The actual building is being let out as business space, and I was pleased to see them being used.
Behind these buildings is a very small car park, perhaps for only 3 or 4 cars. The level crossing has for some time been fully automatic. The rest of the station has small waiting shelters, help points, regional and local maps. There is even an amazon pick up point on platform one. Flower boxes enhance this little station, and it is clean and tidy throughout.
Passenger traffic at time of writing is provided by class 755 Bi-Mode Units. There is quite a lot of freight based traffic to and from Felixstowe also, mainly hauled by class 66 Locomotives.
Entry and exit figures for 2019 / 2020 were 71, 050.
Elmswell is a functional station, and even if the main station building has gone, the other smaller building complete with its nods back to the past helps keep the history alive
Below is the vlog I shot for this series, there is a link at the end to the playlist for the whole series, I hope you enjoy watching it.