Steam engine will call at Leamington

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Railway enthusiasts are expected to make every effort to catch a glimpse of a rare steam engine when it stops to pick up pre-booked passengers from Leamington for a special excursion to Chester later this year.

Steam enthusiasts will be well aware that the locomotive chosen –a B1 class – would have been rare in Leamington even during the time that has been dubbed the golden era of railways.

The engine, number 61306 Mayflower, and other members of the same type never worked regularly in the area.

Now set to make history, the locomotive has been booked to haul the special from London Paddington to Chester via Leamington on Tuesday June 2, organised by train charter company Steam Dreams, of Albury, Surrey.

A spokesman said: “The B1s were designed as mixed traffic locomotives capable of hauling express passenger trains as well as freight traffic. As powerful go-anywhere engines, the B1s worked across most of the UK rail network from East Anglia to Scotland.”

Mayflower was built in 1948 in Glasgow by the North British Locomotive Company. It has now been fully restored and looks resplendent in its original livery of apple green.

Timings for the special, which is being run under the company’s Cathedrals Express banner, are provisional at the moment, but is expected to depart Leamington at 10.35am, having left Paddington at 6.30am and is likely to arrive in Chester at 1.30pm.

Leaving Chester at approximately 5.30pm, the train is expected to arrive back at Leamington at 8.10pm, before heading back to Paddington for arrival at 11.25pm.