Photo gallery and video: Full steam ahead as the Mayflower departs from Norwich train station

The Mayflower steam train at Norwich Station.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Mayflower steam train at Norwich Station.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Nostalgic scenes reminiscent of the great era of steam could be seen at Norwich train station today as the 1948 locomotive Mayflower departed on a special journey to Windsor.

The Mayflower steam train at Norwich Station. Owner David Buck.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Mayflower steam train at Norwich Station. Owner David Buck.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Excited passengers and rail enthusiasts gathered to admire Mayflower in all her glory before she set off on her journey at about 8am this morning.

Built for the London and North Eastern Railway, 61306 Mayflower is one of only two surviving Class B1 locomotives.

Today's excursion was her first time back on the main line for more than 20 years.

Among those lucky enough to be aboard were David and Jacqui Hoy, from Hellesdon.

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Mrs Hoy, 52, had organised the trip as a surprise for Mr Hoy's 60th birthday year complete with a champagne breakfast on board.

'I was told we were going to Windsor but I had no idea we were going by steam,' Mr Hoy said.

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'It was a really big surprise. It's fantastic, I love the smell and the atmosphere.' Andy Parfitt, 53, from Norwich, was among those watching the locomotive from the platform.

He said: 'It is nice to see a train such as this travelling from Norwich. It is just great to see a steam train. I like the whole atmosphere with the smell of the steam etcetera.

'It is wonderful to be next to something with such great history.'

The Mayflower was sold last year to steam enthusiast and retired businessman David Buck, and the locomotive now resides at North Norfolk Railway.

Guildford-based Steam Dreams is chartering Mayflower for 12 trips between today and April 28.

Other destinations include the South Downs, taking in Guildford, Winchester and Basingstoke, Cardiff on March 1 (St David's Day), Bath, Bristol, Oxford, York, Exeter, Maidenhead, Reading, Swindon, Gloucester, Cambridge, Ely, Canterbury, and William Shakespeare's birthplace, Stratford Upon Avon.

Mayflower was built by the North British Locomotive Company in Glasgow and transferred to British Railways, whose early apple-green livery she bears, after rail nationalisation.

She first worked for Hull Botanic Gardens Depot and was finally transferred to Low Moor Depot, Bradford.

The last B1 in service, Mayflower's final trip was hauling the Yorkshire Pullman from Leeds in September 1967, after which she was bought for preservation and based at Steamtown Carnforth. In 1978 she was bought by Gerald Boden, and she was last year sold to Mr Buck who was born and raised in Ipswich and now lives in Windsor.

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