Ipswich Town set to get on track as Mayflower steam engine is renamed
PUBLISHED: 07:30 12 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:02 12 June 2020
One of the best-known steam locomotives in Britain could soon be getting a new name – Ipswich Town could be hauling special trains across the rail network once the lockdown is finally over.
Mayflower is an LNER-designed B1 class locomotive owned by businessman David Buck who was born and brought up in Ipswich.
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As a child in the 1950s he was a regular trainspotter on Ipswich railway station – and his love of railways is a passion that has stayed with him, as has his support for Ipswich Town. He used to be a regular at Portman Road and was at Wembley for the FA Cup and Play-off finals.
Mr Buck now lives near Windsor and bought Mayflower in 2014, putting it back on the main line the following year. Since then the locomotive has been overhauled and last year emerged as the flagship of the Steam Dreams railtour company which Mr Buck had bought in 2018.
MORE: David Buck brings Mayflower to East Anglia
It has already travelled through Ipswich several times over the last few years – and is due to make more visits at the head of trips that have had to be postponed because of the coronavirus crisis.
But when it when it does appear it could be in a different guise. Mr Buck said: “There was a class of locomotives named after football clubs, the B17s and they weren’t very different from Mayflower. There wasn’t an Ipswich Town because it wasn’t a league club in the 1930s (there was a Norwich City) but I had a nameplate made for my own collection.
“I’m now getting another made and I’m going to put them on Mayflower for a time. I don’t know when yet because of the current situation – but it will be for a few tours and I certainly hope to bring it through East Anglia with those on.”
Mr Buck is cautious about when steam trains will run again: “Rail charters are certainly bottom of the list so far as the government is concerned. And I really could not see how they could run with any social distancing. To make money on a steam charter you have to sell almost all the dining seats – and there’s no way you could do that with two-metre (or even one-metre) rule.
“We shall just have to wait – but I will bring Ipswich Town here. I had hoped we’d run it to celebrate the club’s first promotion in 20 years but that hasn’t happened! We will be running it through East Anglia just as soon as we can, just as soon as steam charters are back on track again.”
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