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Rail history steams into resort

PUBLISHED: 19:38 03 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:52 03 March 2010

RAILWAY enthusiasts will be getting all steamed up if they miss the treat in store for them on the Felixstowe-Ipswich line this weekend.

For Sunday will see the first steam train using the 12-mile track for nearly half a century.

RAILWAY enthusiasts will be getting all steamed up if they miss the treat in store for them on the Felixstowe-Ipswich line this weekend.

For Sunday will see the first steam train using the 12-mile track for nearly half a century.

The visit will form part of a yesteryear transport extravaganza for the resort, which will also have the veteran and vintage vehicles from Ipswich to Felixstowe car run on display on the prom.

The visit of the steam train marks the 125th anniversary of the rail line and is being organised by the Felixstowe East Suffolk Travellers' Association.

The train leaves Ipswich railway station at 3pm, goes through Trimley and down to the old Felixstowe Beach Station, next to the level crossing at Beach Station Road-Walton Avenue. It should arrive at 3.50pm and will stand for 25 minutes for people to see it.

It will have an engine at each end of the 12 coaches and will return on the southern port line at 4.15pm, making its way to Garrison Lane rail bridge, where it will reverse back into the Felixstowe Town Station.

It will arrive at the town at 4.25pm but only stay five minutes before going back to Ipswich, stopping at Derby Road between 4.50pm and 5pm, arriving at Ipswich 5.15pm for its return journey to London.

ESTA public transport committee chairman Bryan Frost said: "It will be the first steam-operated passenger train over the line since 1958, so it will be quite a special 'special'.

"It should be absolutely wonderful and we are all looking forward to it. We do hope that lots of people will come and see it – it is unlikely that we shall see another steam train on the Felixstowe line for a long while to come."

The visit of the train is part of a steam railtour from London to Harwich and Felixstowe organised by Past Time Rail.

The celebrations of the 125th anniversary have also included a rail fare offer, which ends tomorrow , to encourage people to use the hourly passenger trains on the line, which opened on May 1, 1877.

Anglia Railways are offering a special day return fare of £1.25 over the line in either direction.

On May 26, thanks to support from Anglia Railways, ESTA has organised a special train from Trimley and Felixstowe to Cromer and Sheringham, via Ely.

The train will include one of the new generation of Class 170 diesel units, which will mean air-conditioned comfort for those on board.

The rail line was built by Colonel George Tomline, Lord of the manor of Walton-cum-Trimley and a wealthy landowner in the late 19th century who owned much of the Felixstowe Peninsula.

Colonel Tomline, the first ever passenger, ran the line for several years, with its staff dressed as household servants and the guard uniformed as a butler, and the original dock steam train, the Colonel Tomline, pulled the carriages.


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