Brockford Station, Wetheringsett; Monday 1 August, 2011 – The Mid-Suffolk Light Railway has hailed its latest venture as a huge success after it attracted over 300 people to their Brockford Station base.
The heritage railway played host to the Tidy Theatre Company’s production of The Ghost Train over three nights in early August and was delighted when every performance was sold out over a week in advance.
The production was scheduled to coincide with the MSLRs steam days in order to keep down the costs of the play’s leading actor – its preserved train.
The line’s resident loco hauled two vintage carriages on three occasions during each show, firstly to deliver the cast to the platform (doubling as the production’s stage) and then again at the end of each act.
Such was the effect of a live steam train featuring in the play, one appearance led the audience to burst into spontaneous applause.
Both the cast and the railway’s board are delighted with the play’s success which has brought both organisations very positive publicity.
The MSLRs Press Officer, Edmund Crosthwaite, who also appeared in the show, said: “We have had an enormous amount of positive feedback, no one has had a bad word to say about it.”
“The location and atmosphere, not to mention the arrival of the train on cue each night, certainly made the production so much more than if it had just been performed in a theatre.”
“Our only problem now is what to do next year. We could probably do the same show again and still sell out, but we’d like to be more imaginative than that.”
The ‘Middy’ has three more steam days scheduled for its summer season, with the biggest event being their Rail ‘n’ Ale event on Sunday 28 and Monday 29 of this coming Bank Holiday Weekend.
At least eight local beers will be available in the railway’s bar coach which expects its busiest few days of the year.
The final summer steaming is September 25, with Santa Specials then following on 4, 11, 17 and 18 December, which must be pre-booked through the railway’s website, www.mslr.org.uk.
• Photograph taken by Mr Lawrence Wheeler