Treat for steam train enthusiasts

MORE than a hundred rail enthusiasts were chuffed to see the first steam train using the 12 mile track on the Ipswich-Felixstowe line for nearly half a century.

MORE than a hundred rail enthusiasts were chuffed to see the first steam train using the 12 mile track on the Ipswich-Felixstowe line for nearly half a century.

Steam fans lined the route along the A14 and positioned themselves on bridges eager to catch a glance of a bygone era as the visit marked the 125th anniversary of the rail line.

The train arrived at the old Felixstowe Beach Station next to the level crossing at Beach Station Road, Walton Avenue after leaving Ipswich. It then made its way back to London, stopping at stations, including Derby Road, Ipswich, along the way.

East Suffolk Travellers' Association public transport committee chairman Bryan Frost said that the loco's arrival was the first steam operated passenger train over the line since 1958 – and marked a "wonderful" occasion.

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

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.

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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.