From the 'Suffolk Free Press' of Thursday 25 April 1963


Coal distribution centre?


Haverhill Urban District Council began its fight to save its railway passenger link threatened by the proposals of the Beeching report by holding a special meeting to draft representations opposing the closure.

They are urging Mr Marples, when considering the Beeching report, to pay special regard to the long term requirements of Haverhill in view of planned movement of industry and population to the town, and in particular modify the proposals.

Rail buses

Haverhill council believe this can be achieved by continuing to run rail buses operated by a driver-conductor between Haverhill and Audley End, connecting better than at present with fast trains to and from London, and by arranging for rail services to Cambridge to continue, so as to connect with other parts of the country.

They also want consideration given, if or when certain neighbouring stations are closed, to Haverhill being kept open for use by freight traffic generally and by personnel and luggage from Stradishall R.A.F. station six miles away.

Haverhill is also being suggested as one of the centres which may be set up for the distribution of coal.

An additional resolution was moved by Mr L. E. Mayes regretting the action of Saffron Walden Borough Council in accepting the closure of the Audley End link without protest and asking them to reconsider their decision.

Let down

"I think they are letting the public down", he said. "Even though I am a railwayman I think there is a good case for fighting to keep open our lines".

Mr B. T. Simms warned that the Walden Council might be upset by the Haverhill resolution and tell them to mind their own business.

Mr F. H. Fuller said: "I think it is our business when the future of our only passenger rail link is at stake".

In support of the resolutions, the council is sending to the Transport Minister, a 600-word note pointing out how the present population of 6,600 is planned to be trebled under the expansion scheme which had been approved by the Minister of Housing.

They fear this expansion could be harmfully affected by the loss of rail links, making abortive a large portion of the substantial sums already put into the development by the authorities concerned.


It was submitted that there had already been some increase in passenger traffic to and from Haverhill since the figures in the report were taken in 1961 and that as the population has grown three-fold, the increase will certainly be accelerated.

In any case, says the council, the lines are being kept open for freight which could be expected to grow rapidly as more industrialists arrived.

One firm was building two factories, 70,000 square feet in all, and adjoining the railway line so that at some later stage it would be possible for them to provide their own sidings should they desire to do so.

In addition, the council understood that about 250 tons of coal came to Haverhill station each week and this quantity would obviously increase as the population grew.

With regard to the suggestion in the Beeching report that passenger services be replaced by road buses, the council regarded this as completely impracticable in the case of the Audley End route because of the winding, narrow roads and consequent hazards.

Copies of the resolutions and notes, with requests for support, are being sent to the Minister of Housing, President of the Board of Trade, Mr William Aitken, M.P., U.D.Cs Association and the London and West Suffolk County Councils.