South Town Railway Station


Erected on the Cobholm and Lichfield Resource Centre.

South Town railway station was the terminus of a direct route between London and Great Yarmouth. It opened when the contractors, Peto, Brassey and Betts, completed a double track between Ipswich and Great Yarmouth Southtown on 1st June 1859. These lines ran through Beccles and Halesworth with three trains daily and two on Sundays.


The journey time between London and Great Yarmouth was reduced from over four and half hours to under three and half hours, when at full speed. This was improved to less than two and half hours between the wars. The railway company, originally known as the East Suffolk, was merged with others as the Great Eastern Railway by an Act of Parliament in August 1862. The route from South Town Station was the most convenient between Great Yarmouth and London and was the most popular for many years.


The railway companies always named the station as South Town, but it was usually written as one word, Southtown, in Great Yarmouth.


South Town railway station and goods yard occupied a very large piece of land in the Southtown and Cobholm area to the west of Haven Bridge with extensive sidings, sheds, coal yards and a turntable. The line carried many passengers and much freight, including timber, cattle, malt and notably fish, during the heyday of the Great Yarmouth Herring Industry.


The line direct between Yarmouth South Town and Lowestoft, was opened as a double track on 13th July 1903 with stations at Gorleston North, Gorleston-on-Sea, Hopton, Corton and Lowestoft North.A halt was built at Gorleston Links in 1914.


During an intense low level air raid, shortly after 7am on 7th May l943, South Town Station and a passenger coach were damaged by a bomb. However, it did not explode and it came to rest between the rails in the platform area. By good fortune, a Naval Bomb Disposal Officer, who was waiting for a train, was able to defuse the bomb.


A natural disaster occurred on the 31st January 1953, when a North Sea surge broke through the walls of Breydon Water, flooding South Town Station and closing the railway system for several days.


The high cost of maintaining the Breydon Viaduct led to its closure for rail traffic on 21st September 1953, so that there was no longer a direct link in Great Yarmouth between the northern and southern railways.


On 2nd November 1959, the Beccles-South Town line closed necessitating the London trains be routed through Lowestoft.


In April 1963, the Beeching Report recommended the closure of the East Suffolk Line. The freight facilities were closed and the line was reduced to single track and stations were downgraded to un-manned halts in 1967. The final passenger train to run was the 20.19 Lowestoft to Great Yarmouth, returning at 21.19 from South Town on 2nd May 1970 and the line closed on 4th May 1970


Santa Fe Oilfield Trading Company occupied the site for a few years and the buildings were demolished in November 1977.