Mount Bures Community Web Site



Stour Valley Railway

The rail track runs from Marks Tey to Sudbury.
It opened in 1848 and passes through the centre of the village.
There is no halt at Mount Bures

For more comprehensive details on the Bures section of the line visit the Bures web site

Colchester and Stour Railway Engineers Report
Essex Standard and Eastern Counties Advertiser
circa 1846/48

Henry Cant aged 15yrs, charged with throwing stones at the railway

Essex and Suffolk Free Press, July 14th 1859






























Crossing Gates circa 1974
Crossing Keeper circa 1960
Crossing Gates circa 1991
Crossing Keepers 1996
Dilapidated Crossing Cottage 2014

Holden E4 (GER T26) 2-4-0
Passing Mount Bures Bank during the 1940`s

62785 was the last surviving loco of this class and can still be seen at the Bressingham Steam Museum, Norfolk.

Kathleen Willingham has a 91 hour week job, but British railways says its only a part time job: 36 year old mother of four.
Kathleen looks after the level crossing at Mount Bures, near Colchester, Essex, is fighting with British Railways to get her 91 hour week reduced.

Mrs. Willingham pulls a level 144 times a day, and wings the large level crossing gates at least 48 times a day from six in the morning until 10:30 at night.
Even on her weekly day off her "rest day" - Mrs. Willingham has to be on duty from 6 a.m. till 10.15 when her relief a man arrives.

Another man takes over in the afternoon because men are allowed to work only an eight hour shift. Each week she is allowed four hours off for shopping.
An Eastern Region spokesman said that a keeper know what the conditions were when she took the job. Mrs. Willingham, he said, was able to do things about the house between trains and so was considered to be only working part time.

The left side photo portrays Mrs Willingham working the level crossing gates which she does 48 times a day

Kathleen was born in Braintree 1924 and died Braintree 2005

Courtesy of Helena Wojtczak, author of Railwaywomen.

Modern day Sprinter which has departed Bures and traversing the 1:90 gradient towards the crossing

Local information:-
During and after the War, a local "tank" loco would transport coal from March onwards to Marks Tey.
The load consisted of 600 tons of coal which amounted to 60 x 10ton trucks
On passing through Bures station they would have to climb the 1:90 Mount Bures bank passing over the level crossing then onwards to Chappel
It was not unusual for the loco to run out of traction the south side of the crossing and come to a grinding halt.

The local would reverse back to Bures station where a spare "tank" loco in the Bures yard would couple onto the rear truck
Both, would then shunt the load all the way back to Cornard.
Now with a full head of steam from both engines, pushing and pulling they would pass over the Mount Bures bank with a great gusto of steam and noise.

During the war years, munition trains also used the same path conveying bombs etc to the Chappel yard
The locomotives used, were either British or Americal 2.10.0 WD which were specifically designed for heavy goods work
American servicemen and local residents would stand by the crossing gates waving and cheering as the locomotive came up the bank and passed through the gates belching smoke and steam on full power.

Courtesy of John Cowlin

<Typical 2.10.0 loco

updated 02/02/2017