Tornado train set to storm through Suffolk

A MAGNIFICENT steam locomotive will cruise through Suffolk tomorrow in preparation of a charter commemorating a famous Second World War rescue effort.

A MAGNIFICENT steam locomotive will cruise through Suffolk tomorrow in preparation of a charter commemorating a famous Second World War rescue effort.

The Tornado - a brand new replica A1 class engine - has been selected to pull the British leg of the route taken by the Kindertransport trains 70 years ago.

The rescue, co-ordinated by Sir Nicholas Winton, saved the lives of 669 Jewish children from Czechoslovakia who were destined for Nazi death camps.

On Friday the Winton Train will travel along the same route taken in 1939 - between Harwich and London - and will carry the descendents of the children who were saved, along with some of the original refugees.

However, a day earlier, the Tornado is due to glide through Ipswich station and on to Stowmarket, providing enthusiasts with a chance to marvel at its beauty.

The loco - which only moved under its own power a year ago following a 19-year project to construct a new Peppercorn Pacific - will pass through Ipswich at 2.28pm before reaching Stowmarket at 2.45pm.

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After refuelling, the Tornado will return through Ipswich at 3.33pm on its way to Harwich in readiness for the following day's historic journey.

The Winton Train is being run by Czech Railways and sponsored by the Czech government.

Sir Nicholas, now 100, will meet the relatives of those he saved as guest of honour at Liverpool Street on Friday.

The modest British Embassy junior clerk was knighted in 2002 after the story of his heroic rescue began to emerge.

He planned the journeys after visiting Prague in 1938 where he was shocked by the numbers of Jewish refugees entering the capital.

Sir Nicholas organised the Czech Kindertransport, arranging for children to travel on eight trains to Britain before finding foster families for all of them.

The last train, scheduled to leave on September 3, the day Britain entered the Second World War, never arrived and the children onboard were never found.

The Tornado and the Peppercorn A1:

- The last of the renowned Peppercorn A1 steam locomotives was scrapped in 1966

- To revive the famous engines, the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust - a registered charity - set about building a completely new A1 to the original design

- Tornado made its first public appearance in August 2008

- The A1s were designed by Arthur H Peppercorn, the last chief mechanical engineer of the London and North Eastern Railway

- The original 49 Peppercorn Class A1s were built at Doncaster and Darlington in 1948/9 after the nationalisation of the railways