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A Day Out At... 8: Ipswich

Ian Fowler

IAN FOWLER explains what there is to see at this East Anglian station.

You may recall I did originally choose to name these features “Nerd’s Day Out” as that is what my great friend, former colleague and legend of this parish Nick Duxfield christened our regular six monthly outings (in our own time I hasten to add – the owners might be reading this..) where we’d basically spend a day out taking photos of trains and watching the world go by.

I’m concentrating on the contemporary scene rather than days gone before. I’ve got to also pay tribute to my dear old dad who diligently took me to a variety of locations as a small boy to watch the trains, even though his own interest was minimal at the time. We went to Ipswich (again when on holidaying in Cromer) once, it was great until a gas leak at Witham stopped most the trains!

I’d love others to be able to fill in the gaps for me, so please do email any of your own information on this location so we can expand and update this feature in due course, selling the concept to a publisher for millions of dollars and not split it with Stuart!


By Rail
Take a London Victoria train via the picturesque Arun Valley, then Circle Line to Liverpool Street followed by an Ipswich bound service from there.

By Road
From Ford, A27/A280/A24/A272/A23/M23/M25/A282/M25/A12 – takes 2hrs 40mins but this can be heavily influenced by the goings on at the Dartford Crossing, I’ve been there for 90mins before! And don’t forget to pay for the toll either beforehand or before midnight afterwards…


National Rail Enquiries information on Ipswich.

Ipswich is situated on the Great Eastern main line and is 68 miles north of London Liverpool Street. There are services for Lowestoft and the Felixstowe branch that start and finish here. There is a locomotive stabling point adjacent to Platform 4. It is usually pretty full of Freightliner locomotives awaiting their next turn. This, in itself makes Ipswich a good location for seeing locomotives. The station is spacious and feels safe, with good facilities. You can park in the adjacent car park for a fee. Do not get caught out by the short stay bays at the front of the station!


Platform 1

Is a bay platform to the north of the station used for Abellio Greater Anglia services to Felixstowe and Lowestoft.

Platform 2

Is used by Abellio Greater Anglia for services from Norwich to London Liverpool Street as well as occasional Felixstowe shuttles. Southbound freight trains use this platform to pass through.

Platform 3

Is used by Abellio Greater Anglia for services from London Liverpool Street to Norwich as well as the occasional service to Cambridge. Northbound freight trains use this platform to pass through.

Platform 4

This is divided up into 4A, 4B and 4C (must be wired for DCC, surely?) and used for Abellio Greater Anglia services to Cambridge and Peterborough as well as stopping services to London Liverpool Street.


It could be argued that this addictive website has taken all the surprise out of observing the real railway, but it is an absolute godsend when deciding when you should go home! It’s very mobile friendly too. Recommended!


DRS Rail Head Treatment Train.

Ipswich Station isn’t as busy as it used to be, primarily because the increase in container traffic at Felixstowe necessitated the construction of a new curve from the Felixstowe branch to the line north of Ipswich station, eliminating the need for all Felixstowe traffic to head south towards London, gaining access to the WCML via the North London Line. This freed up crucial paths as some services are now routed northbound away from the capital. However there are regular container trains routed through the station, usually operated by Freightliner and GBRf – maybe even DB Schenker too. There is also an interesting flow of Gas Condensate the passes through from Harwich to North Walsham and vice versa empties. This is in the hands of a GBRf Class 66 and is formed of bogie tank wagons. However what Ipswich lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality – the stabling point is usually very busy and you also get regular locomotive hauled passenger trains on the London Liverpool Street to Norwich trains. Add to this a variety of DMUs on the locals and cross country services and smattering of off piste EMUs and you get a colourful selection of trains to observe.

GBRf Class 66 761 pulling gas tanks.


There’s a handy double track tunnel to the south of the station but no real scenic break northbound. The station footprint is huge, with long Platforms 2/3/4 so I’m not sure it could be done in OO realistically, but N could be possible. The Felixstowe branch, where freight trains outnumber passenger ones is very modellable, particularly if you have a love of container trains.


Here’s a list of Locomotives and Multiple Units currently available from RTR manufacturers that can be seen at Ipswich. The really interesting bit is trying to find the appropriate coaches, wagons and buildings on our website so I’m going to leave that up to you!

Class 66

Class 66

Bachmann B32-981 Class 66 66416 Freightliner Powerhaul - OO Scale

Hornby R3345 Freightliner Class 66 - OO Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-002 Freightliner Class 66 504 Powerhaul Diesel Locomotive - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-002D Freightliner Class 66 504 Powerhaul Livery (DCC-Fitted) - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-003 EWS Class 66 200 Diesel Locomotive - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-003D EWS Class 66 200 Diesel Locomotive (DCC-Fitted) - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-004 Freightliner Class 66 612 Unbranded Diesel Locomotive - N Scale

Dapol DA2D-007-004D Freightliner Class 66 612 Unbranded (DCC-Fitted) - N Scale

Graham Farish GF371-383A Class 66 66101 DB Schenker - N Scale

Graham Farish GF371-384 Class 66 66209 EWS (Weathered) - N Scale

Graham Farish GF371-385 Class 66 66546 Freightliner - N Scale

Graham Farish GF371-396 Class 66 (Low Emission Variant) 66731 InterhubGB GBRf - N Scale

Class 70

Class 70

Bachmann B31-588 Freightliner Class 70 005 Powerhaul Diesel Weathered - OO Scale

Bachmann B31-590 Class 70 70015 Freightliner (Air Intake Modifications) - OO Scale

Graham Farish 371-635 Class 70 PowerHaul 70006 Freightliner - N Scale

Graham Farish 371-636 Class 70 PowerHaul 70003 Freightliner - N Scale

Class 86

Nothing suitable from the major manufacturers although both Hornby and Dapol have produced Freightliner liveried Class 86s before.

Class 90

Nothing suitable from the major manufacturers although Hornby have produced Freightliner liveried Class 90s before and a Bachmann Class 90 is in the pipeline. Hornby even made a One Anglia version of the Class 90 – you might get lucky on eBay (other auction houses are available).

Class 153

Nothing suitable from the major manufacturers but Hornby did release a Greater Anglia Class 153 as a “concession only” model a couple of years back. There might be some still floating around. Dapol have the N Scale tools to produce this model, but it’s never been done as far as I know.

Class 156

Again nothing suitable from the major manufacturers, frustrating as Hornby have the ex-Lima moulds in their toolbank and Dapol have the N Scale version in theirs.

Class 170

Bachmann produce an OO version of this DMU but only in CrossCountry livery. They did make a One Anglia (previous franchise) version once upon a time. Graham Farish have the N Scale tools to make this model but it’s only available in Scotrail or Central Trains colours currently.

Class 321

Not available in RTR form from a major manufacturer.

Class 360

Not available in RTR form from a major manufacturer.


Ipswich is home to a great model railway shop which is just as well given that Galaxy Models and Modelzone have both closed in the last 5yrs or so. Scograil have a great range of stock with keen prices. They also have a tempting range of European models for sale. Well worth a visit. A bit further afield is the very excellent Model Junction at Bury St Edmonds and Mankim just outside Colchester.


Ipswich isn’t the busiest of locations but there is a disproportionate amount of loco-hauled action there.


I’m giving Ipswich 3 British Rail Pork Pies out of 5.

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