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Steam age comes to town

PUBLISHED: 19:04 12 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:46 02 March 2010

STEAM enthusiasts gathered for a rare sighting of the Easterling train as it graced Ipswich station on an historic round trip through East Anglia.

The journey also provided an opportunity for passengers to travel by main line steam from London to Lowestoft, taking in the spectacular Suffolk countryside and picturesque towns such as Wickham Market and Saxmundham.

STEAM enthusiasts gathered for a rare sighting of the Easterling train as it graced Ipswich station on an historic round trip through East Anglia.

The journey also provided an opportunity for passengers to travel by main line steam from London to Lowestoft, taking in the spectacular Suffolk countryside and picturesque towns such as Wickham Market and Saxmundham.

The carriages were hauled by an engine popular on passenger trains in East Anglia until the end of steam in 1966.

The Easterling – known as the Broadsman, but renamed for this trip - left Liverpool Street at 8.30am on Saturday and arrived in Ipswich three hours later before visiting Norwich and Lowestoft.

It was the first northbound steam hauled train to travel along the East Suffolk line since the mid-1960s.

The train reportedly broke down at Norwich before its return journey, but for many onlookers, the spectacle was a welcome return to the old days despite the long wait.

Steven King, 21, of Stowmarket, has been fascinated by railways since he was six years old.

He said: "I really like the technological simplicity of steam engines. They are very simple but there is a certain elegance about them as well.

"The Easterling is only one of two to have survived in this area. The other one is the 1806 Mayflower.

"I heard the Easterling was going to Norwich so I decided to go there as well to get some good photos."

Kevin Hubbard, 49, of Diss, also enjoyed the arrival of steam to Ipswich.

He said: "You don't get steam here very often so it makes a change.

"A steam engine can be seen working. The diesel and electric engines are just boxes, but the steam one is more alive.

"It's not just the engine though, it's the people who are driving it and firing it.

"I will probably follow it to Diss, Norwich and then Lowestoft."

The train then headed towards Norwich, where it stopped for one and a half hours to prepare for the return journey to London.

N Do you prefer steam engines to modern locomotives?

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