Colne Valley Railway

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Colne Valley Railway


Castle Hedingham station
Gauge: 4 ft 8½"
Grid reference: TL77093632
Location: 51°59’48"N, 0°34’47"E
Track: 1 mile
Headquarters: Castle Hedingham

The Colne Valley Railway is a heritage railway based at Castle Hedingham Station, near Halstead in Essex. The railway consists of a running line one mile long, with a fully reconstructed station, signal box and railway yard.


Victorian photograph of a Colne Valley and Halstead Railway 2-2-2WT at Halstead engine shed

The railway occupies part of the former Colne Valley and Halstead Railway (CVHR), which opened in stages between 16 April 1860 and 10 May 1863. This part of the railway was a through line from Birdbrook to Wakes Colne.

The line continued to remain open until 30 December 1961, when passenger traffic ended. In 1965, freight traffic ended and the line was demolished a year later.


The land was purchased in 1973 and the preservation society was formed in 1974. The first steam locomotive to arrive on site was No.WD190 shortly followed by No.72. Members of the preservation society began to operate the locomotives on a short section of line, which developed into a tourist attraction.

Although originally a main line railway, the track was taken up in the late 60s, during the Beeching axe era, so when the railway was purchased there was no remaining infrastructure. The original Hedingham station was one mile away and was taken down carefully brick by brick. The bricks were numbered so that it could be easily and correctly reassembled on the preservation site.

The Hedingham signal box came from Cressing. The timber top half (first floor) was saved for preservation and remounted on a new higher (ground floor) brick base re-constructed for it. The bridge crossing the River Colne came from Earls Colne in 1982.

Despite its short length, the CVR is home to three ex-mainline steam locomotives and holds Pullman dining services on a monthly basis.

Possible future extension

In 2012, the site of the former Yeldham station was cleared of undergrowth for the provision of a path for walkers. This is the most likely location for an extension, which subject to raising suitable finance, would double the length of the line to two miles.


SR Merchant Navy Class "Blue Star" awaiting restoration
Steam locomotives
LMS 4-6-0 Class 5MT nos. 45163 and 45293 built in 1935 and 1936 respectively Both under restoration.
SR 4-6-2 Merchant Navy Class no. 35010 "Blue Star" built in 1942 Undergoing external restoration
Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0ST" no. 190 built in 1952 Operational
Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0ST" no. 200 built in 1953 Undergoing restoration/overhaul.
Avonside 0-4-0ST "Barrington" built in 1921 Getting An Overhaul. (Not a society loco)
Hawthorne Leslie 0-4-0ST No 1 built in 1928 External Restoration.
RSH 0-6-0ST No 60 "Jupiter" built in 1950 Undergoing restoration/ overhaul.
Diesel locomotives
BR 0-6-0 Class 03 nos. D2041 and D2184 Both Operational
BR 0-6-0 Class 08 08411 under restoration (not society owned)
BR A1A-A1A Class 31 no. 31255 Operational
BR Co-Co Class 47 no. 47771 "Heaton Traincare Depot" (under long term restoration since 2/9/2007)
Royal Admiralty. Ruston & Hornsby 0-4-0 no. YD43 Operational
Andrew Barclay Sons & Co. 0-4-0DM No. 349/41 Operational
Diesel multiple units
BR Class 121 nos. 55033 and 56287 Operational
BR Class 141 unit 141108 (55508+55528) Operational
BR (Western) British rail Railbus Number. W79978 Static Display

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Colne Valley Railway)