Calling all steam buffs

DID you ever drive a steam engine in East Anglia?Do you remember the great days of steam on the main line in the region?If so the National Railway Museum in York wants to hear from you as part of a major celebration to be held later this year.

DID you ever drive a steam engine in East Anglia?

Do you remember the great days of steam on the main line in the region?

If so the National Railway Museum in York wants to hear from you as part of a major celebration to be held later this year.

The museum is marking the 40th anniversary of the end of main line steam in Britain with a major exhibition entitled “1968 and All That!”

And the centrepiece will be the “Britannia” class locomotive Oliver Cromwell which has spent most of its life in East Anglia.

Oliver Cromwell was one of the first batch of new express locomotives designed for the newly-nationalised British Railways and sent to speed up services in this region in 1951.

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It pulled express services from London to Norwich, Great Yarmouth, and Kings Lynn until it was transferred to the north west of England with the closure of steam sheds in this region in 1962.

In 1968 it hauled the last steam service on British Railways, before its ownership was transferred to the National Railway Museum and it was sent on loan to Bressingham Steam Museum near Diss.

For several years in the 1970s it offered visitors to the museum rides on its footplate, but it had been a static exhibit for many years until the decision to restore it to working order was taken in 1968,

Now its restoration is almost complete and Oliver Cromwell should be back on the main line by the middle of the year.

It is due to be the centrepiece of the big exhibition in York, which will run from May 24 until June 2, and will be visited by a special train from this region on its first day.

Then it is due to make two special trips between London and Norwich, through Ipswich, on June 11 and 13.

If you have any memories of steam, please contact the National Railway Museum at Leeman Road, York, Y026 4XJ.

The Evening Star is also preparing a feature on Oliver Cromwell's return to the area, please contact Paul Geater, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail paul.geater@eveningstar.co.uk