The East Anglian Railway Museum is not only home to the most comprehensive collection of period railway architecture and engineering in the Region, but is also based at a working railway station on historic Stour Valley railway line, dating from 1847-1849.
The Station House dates from the 1890´s and incorporates the 1840´s station. In this time capsule you will find Waiting Rooms, Booking Hall, Booking Office (look for the original fireplace with the Great Eastern Railway crest), Station Masters Office, Gents Toilet and Lamp Room. In the yard is the Victorian Goods Shed, a real survivor and unique to the area. There is a hand-operated crane inside for handling the wide variety of packaged cargo that one moved by rail. The Goods Shed was an essential link between the agricultural community of the surrounding area and the outside world.
Other buildings and structures, such as the signal box have been brought to Chappel from elsewhere but all are authentic survivals from the heyday of railway expansion in East Anglia. Here, you can breathe the atmosphere of the Victorian scene, railway buildings and rolling stock and recapture the thrill of travelling on a Museum Steam Day. The more adventurous can drive a steam locomotive and operate signalling on one of the regular Railway Experience Courses.
EARM is an active member of the Heritage Railway Association and undertakes the restoration of locomotives and rolling stock from other museums.
The amazing Chappel Viaduct is beloved of artists and photographers and runs across the valley just alongside. The Viaduct is rich in facts and statistics. It has 32 arches, is 346 metres long, and the track bed is just 24 metres above the river Colne. It was built between 1847 and 1849 at a cost of just £21,000, using traditional brick construction methods.
Even this was thought expensive by the famous Isambard Kingdom Brunel who commented to the design engineer Peter Bruff that the structure "was more costly than the general class of viaducts built under similar circumstances" and that timber would have been a cheaper option. Nevertheless Bruff´s brick viaduct has survived whilst Brunel´s timber versions have all been replaced.
The line has never been electrified and the Viaduct has fortunately retained its original appearance. Steam locomotives occasionally cross into the Museum but regular services on this line between Marks Tey and Sudbury, Suffolk are all diesel powered. It has now carried rail traffic for 158 years.