From the 'Haverhill Echo' of 2 March 1967


A councillor questions the Minister of Transport

A Haverhill councillor, Mr. Horace Eves, last weekend questioned the Minister of Transport, Mrs. Barbara Castle, about the prospect of Haverhill's railway link, which closes on Saturday, being re-opened at a later date.

Mr. Eves met Mrs. Castle at a local government conference organised by the Labour Party. With the Stour Valley line in mind, he put to her the question: "What is the minimum requirements of planned movement of industry and population for the re-instatement of closed branch lines?"

Councillor Eves later said his question was, in effect, asking the Minister to be more specific about paragraph 22 of a White Paper she presented to Parliament last July.

The White Paper stated: "Where it appears services might, in future, have to be re-instated on closed lines, for instance as a result of planned movement of population and industry, the government will ensure the route is preserved meantime, even if the actual track is removed, so there will be no physical obstacle to re-opening."

Social need

Councillor Eves said, in his view, long before the planned Haverhill population target of 18,500 was reached there would be a case for re-opening the Stour Valley line.

"If there is not a viable service for passenger transport I think the social need, as well as the growing motor car population, will also have underlined the need to start up the line again". He said.

Councillor Eves is one of three railwaymen with about 40 years service each who lose their jobs with the line's closure.

He said Mrs. Barbara Castle did not get time to answer all the questions at the conference and is expecting a written reply within a few days.

Haverhill Round Tablers, dressed in period costume, will join their Sudbury colleagues on the last passenger journey along the Sudbury-Haverhill line on Saturday night.

2 March 1967



From the 'Replies to questions handed to the Minister of Transport at the Labour Party Local Government Conference' held on 26 February 1967, which are undated.

Mr H. J. Eves, Haverhill UDC

It is not possible to define the minimum requirement of planned movement of industry and population for re-instatement of services on a closed branch line. Each case would have to be decided on it's merits.

As far as the Stour Valley line is concerned, the passenger service was withdrawn on 6 March between Shelford and Sudbury. But the board would need the minister's prior agreement to the disposal of the formation of the line and station sites and accesses. This is in accordance with the minister's announced policy designed to safeguard the position on closed lines. Before deciding, in any instance, whether or not it is desirable to preserve the route of a closed line because services might probably be needed again following long-term planning decisions, the minister refers applications by the board to the appropriate Regional Economic Planning Council for their comments.