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Eastleigh’s proud railway heritage set to be celebrated

June 28, 2017
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92-ton steam locomotive Wadebridge will be positioned at Market Place in Eastleigh Town Centre

To mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the age of steam in the former railway town of Eastleigh a steam locomotive will be the stunning centrepiece of an exciting weekend of FREE events for all the family, as well as diehard railway enthusiasts.

Wadebridge, the 92-ton steam locomotive will make a very special stop – not at the busy Eastleigh rail station, but in the centre of Market Place at the north end of the town centre!

Wadebridge will be numbered as Eastleigh-built classmate Bideford and weathered to the condition she was in at the end of steam. No tender will be attached to the engine, allowing a rare, close-up look at the footplate.

Eastleigh’s Celebration of Steam takes place over the weekend of Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 July from 10am to 6pm (Sunday 4pm). The Borough Council has been working closely with the Mid-Hants Railway/Watercress Line and the Eastleigh Business Improvement District to make it possible. The event is supported by Hampshire County Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

In July 1967, steam trains, including Wadebridge, visited Eastleigh station for the very last time, heralding a new era of diesel and electric – that may have been more efficient, but had nowhere near the romance and spectacle of their magnificent, coal-powered predecessors. As well as a chance to see Wadebridge at close hand, other plans for the 60s-themed event include:

  • Themed stalls
  • Heritage displays
  • Vintage Buses
  • Rare film footage
  • Music
  • Children’s rides

Those wishing to fully embrace those halcyon days of steam are being encouraged to dress up in ‘60s clothes to celebrate the era.

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