Where and when you can see the steam train in Suffolk over the weekend


Mayflower will be returning to Suffolk for the EUR175 celebration. - Credit: George Copping

Suffolk is playing host to a series of steam specials this weekend to mark the 175th anniversary of the arrival of the railway.

The EUR 175 event will see the Mayflower steam locomotive travel between Colchester, Bury St Edmunds and Norwich on Saturday and Sunday.

The Saturday trains are scheduled to pass through Ipswich station without stopping and there are concerns that people may still head to the station - and others along the route - to see and photograph the train.

The best place to see it is probably on public land near the track: Bourne Park and Gippeswyck Park in Ipswich and Needham Lakes are likely to be popular sites. Another good area for photography is the River Stour bridges at Cattawade.

However the Sunday services will only be seen from places to the north of Ipswich station apart from the 6.30pm departure from Colchester.

The trains will be pulled by LNER-designed B1 steam locomotive Mayflower which for this weekend only should be renamed "Ipswich Town" to mark a link with a similar class of locomotive named after football clubs in the 1930s.

On Saturday trains leave Colchester at 11.10am, 2.10pm and 6.23pm. They will pass through Ipswich about 20 minutes later and by Needham Lakes about 10 minutes after that. 

The first two trains leave Bury St Edmunds at 12.40pm and 3.40pm. They will pass through Needham Market about 25 minutes later, and Ipswich 10 minutes after that. They will be pulled by a veteran diesel, but the steam locomotive will be attached at the back - so you could still get good still pictures of the train, but video of the return journey might be disappointing.

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The evening return from Norwich reaches Ipswich at 9.44pm, by which time it will be dark.

On Sunday trains leave Ipswich for Bury St Edmunds at 12.25pm and 2.34pm, passing Needham Lakes about 10 minutes later. They return from Bury at 2.19pm and 4.25pm, again with a diesel at the front.

The evening train leaves Colchester at 6.30pm and Ipswich at 6.55pm - returning in the dark at 10.15pm and 10.40pm.

Locomotive owner David Buck, who was born and brought up in Ipswich and remains a keen Town fan, said the nameplates were all ready - the only issue was whether the normal "Mayflower" plates could be removed in time for the event.

He said: "That's quite a big job actually, they've been on it for a long time (since the early 1970s) but we will be giving it a go."

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