South Hants Model Railway Club

Stoke by Nayland - Cross country in post war Suffolk

Stoke by Nayland - by David Hawkins (4mm scale, P4 gauge)

The Great Eastern in Suffolk

In 1867, five years after its formation, the Great Eastern Railway opened a 35 mile cross country route from Colchester in Essex to Stowmarket in Suffolk. The purpose was twofold – to serve the mainly agricultural community and villages en route and to provide a direct route from the Colchester main line to Stowmarket and thence to Norwich but avoiding Ipswich. Shortly afterwards a ten mile branch was opened from a point just north of the Suffolk village of Stoke by Nayland to the Market town of Sudbury. Railway architecture was in what was to become known as the Great Eastern’s ‘1865’ style.

Initially trains ran between Colchester and Norwich, via Stowmarket and also from Colchester to Sudbury. However traffic on the branch was sparse and from shortly after the Second World War the few Sudbury trains terminated at Stoke. Initially these were push-pull trains but were subsequently replaced by diesel multiple units and railbuses.

The line was never as successful as was hoped and lived a quiet existence for 100 years until closure in 1967, following publication of the Beeching report. It did however prove to be a useful avoiding line, taking pressure of the Colchester to Norwich mainline at busy times. Stoke by Nayland station itself was kept busy by the presence of a granary and a dairy.

About the layout

In reality none of this happened. Stoke by Nayland remains a pretty village of some 700 inhabitants in the heart of Constable Country but never had the pleasure of being served by the railway.

Exhibition Managers Notes

Contact: David Hawkins

  • Model: Overall length is 20ft including fiddle yards; depth is 2ft
  • Space required: Overall Footprint 23 ft by 6ft, including space of at least 2ft behind the layout for table etc.
  • One table and two chairs required
  • Four operators
  • Operated from front
  • Layout style: diorama style with built in lighting, track height is approximately 4ft
  • Transport: two cars required
  • Insurance valuation: £15,000 (layout £3000; stock £12,000)

Stoke by Nayland image carousel

Where to see Stoke by Nayland

No exhibition appearances currently booked