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Southwold’s Blyth Valley Light Railway opens for passengers

THE 7¼in-gauge Blyth Valley Light Railway (BVLR) at the Southwold Railway Trust’s ‘Steamworks’ in Blyth Road, Southwold, Suffolk, opened for passengers, along with the centre, on July 14.

It runs around part of the one-acre site, but it is planned to enhance the layout and add more facilities for passengers and stock. A carriage shed was completed in November.

Locos available include a privately owned Maxitrak ‘Opal’-type 0-4-2T, a Maxitrak ‘Planet’-type 4wBE, and a freelance 4wP, built by a member many years ago, and currently awaiting a new engine and NG-style bodywork.

A general view of Steamworks, Southwold on June 27 during construction, prior to opening on July14. The Bo-Bo petrol/battery-electric hybrid loco, built specially for the Blyth Valley Light Railway, has since been painted blue. In the background, left, is a 3ft-gauge ex-Charleroi tram. JOHN RIDGWAY/SRT

The largest loco is a petrol/battery-electric hybrid Bo-Bo, built by members Neal and Nigel Davis in 2018.

There is one four-seat bogie coach and one 10-seat, two-car articulated set, which is very heavy, and only the hybrid can haul it.

The BVLR is a permanent feature of the SRT’s steam centre and not a stop-gap for the eventual 3ft-gauge railway, as has been suggested elsewhere.

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