Off they go! Landmark journey for Class 68 diesel locomotives gets underway from Norwich Railway Station
- Credit: Archant
With the thunder of an engine and a boom of a horn, one of Britain's new railway queens rolled away from the platform and into history.
Train enthusiasts thronged to Norwich Railway Station today for a special fundraising journey of two Class 68 diesel locomotives - the newest diesel-electric engines operating on the country's tracks.
About 120 rail fans joined the Greater Anglia carriages which the locomotives 'top and tailed' for the charter trip to Liverpool Street and back via Ely, while others trainspotters were there to watch and take photos.
Jonathan Denby, head of corporate affairs for Greater Anglia said he was thrilled to be a part of the journey, which was the final trip the Class 68s would make on East Anglian tracks after covering for a locomotive undergoing long-term repairs since last summer.
Mr Denby said proceeds from the day would go to a worthy cause.
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He said: 'They've been working here in East Anglia over the past 15 months, and to mark the end of that period we're doing a special rail tour which is all about raising money for East Anglia's Children's Hospices.
'They've been very popular.
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'They're the most modern diesel locomotives on the British railway network.
'They're very powerful, and they're building up quite a following amongst rail enthusiasts.
'We thought it would be a great way to mark the end of their period in East Anglia with a special trip.'
MORE: Historic intercity MkIII carriage with two Class 68 diesel locomotives to make charity journey from NorwichPassengers paid £60 for a standard ticket or £95 for a first class berth on the journey, and more funds are being raised through refreshment sales on board.
Among the trainspotters there to see off the locomotives were Donald Oliver and Barry Busson from Northamptonshire.
Mr Busson said: 'The 68s are absolutely impressive. They remind me of the Class 67, which is another one I like. What a fantastic job they've done.'
Mr Oliver said: 'It's great they are doing this for charity.
'These sort of things should happen more often.'
Three families which have benefitted from EACH's services were also invited along on he journey.
The locomotive each weigh about 85 tonnes and have a top speed of 100mph.