It was a rail link that served thousands of people on a weekly basis in two coastal towns for more than 60 years.

And the much missed rail link between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft is set to be remembered ahead of the 53rd anniversary of its closure.

Lowestoft Journal: Back in May 2 1970 - the penultimate service from Lowestoft to Yarmouth showing the train waiting at Lowestoft. Picture: Peter CogarBack in May 2 1970 - the penultimate service from Lowestoft to Yarmouth showing the train waiting at Lowestoft. Picture: Peter Cogar (Image: Peter Cogar)

With the line closing in 1970, it meant the end of an era for the railway which directly linked the two towns.

As May 4 marks 53 years since its much-lamented closure, the end of an era will be marked as the Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership, in conjunction with the Lowestoft Central Project, hosts a special exhibition at Lowestoft railway station from Saturday, April 29.

The Lowestoft to Yarmouth Railway railway was built in 1903 as it directly linked the coastal communities of Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft via Gorleston, Hopton and Corton.

Lowestoft Journal: The old railway line at Hopton. Picture: Newsquest archivesThe old railway line at Hopton. Picture: Newsquest archives

It ran from Great Yarmouth Beach Station across the Bure Railway Bridge and five-span Breydon Viaduct, serving stations at Yarmouth South Town, Gorleston North, Gorleston On Sea, Hopton, Corton, Lowestoft North and Lowestoft Central.

In 1914, a Halt was added at Gorleston Links to serve an adjacent golf course.

Lowestoft Journal: A column of columns...the stanchions which supported one of the platform canopies at Yarmouth Beach Station, ready for demolition in the late 1950s or early 1960s

When it opened, the direct line was operated by a joint committee comprising of the Great Eastern Railway (GER) and the Midland and Great Northern Junction Railway (MGNJR).

The railways hoped that the line would lead to the development of holiday resorts and it is believed that Gorleston and Hopton had 'On Sea' added to their names as part of a railway publicity campaign.

With services to and from the Midlands and North, it led to summer specials bringing thousands of holidaymakers to a host of holiday camps along the coast.

After the 1953 East Coast Floods, services across the Breydon Viaduct ended as maintenance to the substantial structure was deemed too costly and all Lowestoft – Yarmouth services were terminated at South Town Station.

Lowestoft Journal: Timber sleepers being removed from a Gorleston cutting on the 10-mile Yarmouth South Town to Lowestoft Central railway track after the line's 1970 closure.

Yarmouth Beach Station closed along with much of the former MGNJR network in 1959.

Lowestoft Journal: Great Yarmouth's Beach Station presents a trackless and desolate scene. The station was a terminus of the Great Yarmouth and Stalham Light Railway on Nelson Road. The railway was coastline and included stops at Caister-On-Sea, Ormesby, Hemsby, Martham, Potter Heigham, Catfield, Stalham and North Walsham. The area was turned into a coach station/ park in 1962. Dated  11 June 1959

After closure of the Beccles to South Town route, which was also axed in 1959, all London services ran via Lowestoft and the line was upgraded.

However, shortly afterwards, many services to the coast were re-routed via Norwich.

In 1968, an enquiry into the proposed closure of the line claimed that it served between 5,000 and 10,000 people per week and was running at a loss of some £34,000 per year.

Although closure was not proposed as part of the Beeching Report, British Rail ran services down and re-routed holiday and other long-distance traffic leaving the line with just a two-car diesel shuttle calling at unstaffed and vandalised stations.

By 1970 the route was deemed uneconomic to run and despite a local effort to keep the line running as a tourist attraction, full closure came on May 4 that year with the final passenger train running on May 2.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the exhibition was originally only staged online in 2020, marking the 50th anniversary of the routes closure.

Now, information received at the time will feature in an exhibition running in the Parcels Office at Lowestoft Railway Station daily from April 29 until May 13.

With admission to the exhibition free, it will be closed on Sundays and Coronation Day, Saturday, May 6.

Lowestoft Journal: A previous exhibition at the Parcels Office at Lowestoft Railway Station.A previous exhibition at the Parcels Office at Lowestoft Railway Station. (Image: Lowestoft Central Project)

Martin Halliday, development officer at Community Rail Norfolk, said: "The line had a relatively short working life of just 67 years with very few images in the public domain.

"We were extremely grateful that so many people came forward to share their memories and images for our online exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of the closure, and we are delighted to now be able to mount a physical exhibition featuring much of the fascinating information received."