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Historic day as famous engines steams in

PUBLISHED: 21:20 12 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:49 03 March 2010

TRAIN enthusiasts from all over Suffolk converged at Ipswich railway station to greet a very special locomotive.

The Easterling, which was commonly seen in the area in the mid-1950s, passed through the station as part of a historic trip around East Anglia -which ended later when the train arrived at Thorpe Station in Norwich.

TRAIN enthusiasts from all over Suffolk converged at Ipswich railway station to greet a very special locomotive.

The Easterling, which was commonly seen in the area in the mid-1950s, passed through the station as part of a historic trip around East Anglia –which ended later when the train arrived at Thorpe Station in Norwich.

An overheated hotbox meant that as a precautionary measure, the train was unable to undertake the historic journey.

At 10.15am on Saturday, dozens of eager train lovers drew their cameras to their faces, as the train burst through the tunnel and came in to view.

The engine, with its distinctive sound, slowly travelled through the station as plumes of white steam engulfed the footbridge between platforms two and three.

The steamy scene on Saturday was a re-enactment of one of the most popular seaside trains of the 1940s and 1950s.

The all-important number being entered into several notebooks, was engine 61264.

One train fanatic, Russell Whipps, 67, from Ipswich, said that this was a unique day for train lovers.

"This is the first time in years that a steam train has been on this journey. I've been a rail enthusiast for more than 20 years and in that time I've taken lots of pictures of trains, I've got video film, cine film – you name it, but this is a special day."

After passing through Ipswich, the train made its way through Stowmarket and Haughley, before arriving in Norwich.

From there the train was due to travel to Lowestoft where it was to all set to make history by traversing the East Suffolk line.

Enthusiasts said it would have been the first time in more than 40 years that a steam locomotive had made such a journey - passing through Beccles, Halesworth, Saxmundham, Woodbridge, Westerfield and Ipswich.

But this journey will now have to wait for another day.

Steam was banned from East Anglia's lines for many years during the 1970s and 1980s, and the ban was reinforced once the main line to London was electrified in the mid-1980s.

It was only earlier this year that the ban on steam through Ipswich tunnel was eased.

This allowed the first steam specials since the mid-1970s to pass through the town - and the main line is now a popular route for steam trips from London.

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