Commemorating 50 years since the era of steam trains ended at Eastleigh
Page last updated at 22 June 2017 at 13:45
Eastleigh’s proud railway heritage is celebrated in spectacular style in July.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the end of the age of steam in the town a steam locomotive, that served Eastleigh and other Southern Railway stations, will be the stunning centrepiece of an exciting weekend of 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 railway station, but in the centre of the main shopping precinct 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.
The event takes place over the weekend of 15-16 July. 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 at Eastleigh Museum and The Point
- Rare film footage
- Children’s rides
And it is not just the firebox aboard the loco that will be generating heat – on the Saturday the town’s annual Chilli Fiesta takes place in the Leigh Road Rec, alongside the steam-themed celebrations.
To see up to date information, visit – www.eastleigh.gov.uk/celebrationofsteam.