Iconic loco set to chug through Ipswich

IPSWICH: One of the most iconic British steam locomotives is to pay its first ever visit to East Suffolk at the head of a special train in December.

IPSWICH: One of the most iconic British steam locomotives is to pay its first ever visit to East Suffolk at the head of a special train in December.

Express passenger locomotive Bittern is a member of the same class as world speed record holder Mallard, and will be passing through Ipswich at the head of a special from London to Ely on December 8.

It is expected to pass through the station at about noon on the day - although the exact time has not yet been fixed.

Bittern only recently returned to the main line after a major rebuild and runs with two tenders to allow it to carry enough water for long runs.


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The A4 Class of LNER locomotives was always banned from the Great Eastern main line because of the narrowness of the line in places.

The operating gauge was increased a few years ago when the tunnel at Ipswich was also widened - so now locomotives like Bittern can pass through the region.

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Bittern will be at the head of a Cathedral's Express train which will have started at Victoria Station in London, travelled around the capital, and goes up the line from Stratford to Haughley junction before going cross-country through Bury St Edmunds to Ely.

The trip is being organised by Steam Dreams, which has run special trains hauled by Oliver Cromwell through Ipswich over the last two years.

Full details and timings will be published in The Evening Star when they are confirmed - probably a few days before the train's departure.

For details on the trip visit www.steamdreams.co.uk

Bittern's sister engine Mallard set the world speed record for a steam engine of 126mph near Peterborough in August 1938 - a record that still stands today.

In the 1930s the LNER had two locomotives built to look like A4s which ran in the Great Eastern line - but underneath the streamlining they were identical to the less powerful locomotives which operated on this line.

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