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John waves goodbye to the East Suffolk line
25 Nov 2009

National Express East Anglia (NXEA) has said thank you to John Brodribb for his contribution to the railway in East Anglia, as he steps down from his post as Chairman of the East Suffolk Community Rail Partnership.

James Steward, Area Manager Rural Routes for NXEA presented John with a special picture of Beccles to help remind him of his association with the town.

John who is retiring to the south-west has had a life-long interest in the railway, which began in Chelmsford as a schoolboy, when he watched the ‘Britannia’ steam locomotives go by as he walked under the Duke Street Bridge everyday on his way to school. Later he was impressed by the electric trains to Clacton which appeared in the early 1960’s.  At University in Exeter, John focused his enthusiasm on volunteering at the Dart Valley Railway, although later he taught in London, he remained involved in the Dart Valley Railway as much as possible.

After moving to Beccles, Suffolk, in 1983 he turned his attention to the East Suffolk Travellers Association (ESTA) but also took an interest in the history of the railway and the people that worked on it, and so started collecting reminiscences and memories. He has been able to use this knowledge and research in An Illustrated History of the East Suffolk Railway, published to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Halesworth, Beccles & Haddiscoe line in 2003.

John has committed a great deal of his energies to campaigning for the East Suffolk Line and other local lines during the time he has lived in Beccles. Over the years John has served as a member of the Rail Passengers Committee for Eastern England and was later approached by Clive Morris of NXEA to chair the newly-formed East Suffolk Line Community Rail Partnership. John has been a strong supporter of Community Rail Partnerships, over the years believing that they can offer a very good way forward for rural routes. Throughout his time in Beccles he has done much to improve things for East Suffolk passengers, whilst also finding the time to be the Curator of the Beccles & District Museum upon his retirement from teaching.

Clive Morris of National Express East Anglia said:

“I’ve worked with John a great deal over the years and there have been some very memorable moments. His commitment, knowledge and enthusiasm is second to none and he has contributed a great deal to community railways, especially in the Suffolk area. He will be much missed upon leaving Beccles, but we do wish him and Wendy every happiness in their new life in Devon.”