IT’S more than half a century since the last train pulled into Halstead ... thanks to Dr Beeching’s swingeing cuts to the country’s railways.

So Gazette reader Steve Harper, of Hedingham Road, could hardly believe his eyes when he saw this strange sight.

A lorry driver skilfully manoeuvred a Greater Anglia train engine perched on a huge trailer around the tricky mini roundabout at the top of the High Street and on to Hedingham Road.

A Greater Anglia spokesman said the engine was on its way to Colne Valley Railway Museum.

Halstead’s old railway station, off Trinity Road, closed to passengers on January 1, 1962, and the last goods train ran on April 19, 1965.

The old branch line ran from Chappel to Haverhill and opened in the 1860s, with trains also calling at stops in White Colne, Earls Colne, Sible and Castle Hedingham, Yeldham, Whitley and Birdbrook.

The Colne Valley and Halstead Railway remained independent until 1923 when it became part of the London and North Eastern Railway.

The only remaining section of the line is at the Colne Valley Railway Museum, at Castle Hedingham.