Train named after Bressingham attraction celebrating 50th birthday

One of south Norfolk's most popular tourist attractions has marked its 50th birthday with the naming of a train in its honour.

Travellers riding on the Norwich to London Liverpool Street line can now step into the 'Bressingham Steam and Gardens' - a National Express East Anglia (NXEA) Class 90 electric locomotive.

The new name was unveiled by television gardener Peter Seabrook at the London station this morning, followed by a similar ceremony held at Diss train station - less than four miles from the attraction.

Also witnessing the naming was Adrian Bloom, son of horticulturist Alan Bloom whose collection of traction engines launched the site in 1961, and Chris Leah, chairman of the trustees of Bressingham Steam and Gardens.

Mr Bloom said he was 'pleased' to see a train take the name his father had worked hard to build and hoped it would inspire travellers to take the short detour from the main line to visit the attraction.

'It attracts 80,000 people a year. However a lot of people locally I think, unless they came as children with families, don't realise just how much is there - it amazes people all the time,' he said.

Officials from NXEA said the naming was the first step in attracting more rail passengers to the museum. Further talks will also be held to see whether a shuttle bus service can be provided for visitors between the Diss station and Bressingham in future.

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Mr Seabrook said the attraction boasted some of the 'finest gardens in the world'.

On performing the naming ceremony, he added: 'It's absolutely brilliant. It's about time that people can travel from London to these lovely gardens without the hassle of the A12.'

Mark Phillips, NXEA deputy managing director said: 'We hope the train naming will promote Bressingham to a new generation of visitors and act as a platform for another 50 years of success.'

The attraction will commemorate its 50 years with a special anniversary weekend of events on June 25 and 26.

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