Published on: Tuesday, 14 March 2023
Last updated: Tuesday, 14 March 2023
A Class 321 train. Credit: Greater Anglia
Greater Anglia is to run a Class 321 Farewell charity charter train on Saturday 29 April, to mark the upcoming withdrawal of the trains from use on the Greater Anglia network, as the operator rapidly approaches the point where all its services will be operated by new trains.
The event, aimed primarily at rail enthusiasts, will raise funds for three charities relevant to the Greater Anglia operating area – East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH), Havens Hospices and the Railway Mission.
The charter train will run from London Liverpool Street to Clacton, Walton, Harwich Town, Stowmarket, back to Shenfield, to Southend Victoria and finally back to London Liverpool Street, covering many of the core routes with which the Class 321s have been closely associated for much of their life. The trip will also include journeys over a number of loops and sections of track not normally used by scheduled passenger trains.
The Class 321 electric units have been used on suburban and commuter services in East Anglia for over 30 years, but are now being replaced by Greater Anglia’s brand-new Class 720 trains, which have a number of benefits for passengers including more seats, plug and USB points, enhanced performance characteristics and better accessibility arrangements.
However, the Class 321s have provided sterling service for over three decades, so the special trip provides an opportunity for enthusiasts and anyone else interested in this notable milestone, to take a final trip on them to many of the destinations they’ve served during their operating life.
The price for this one-off trip is £70 (or £35 for children aged 5 – 15), with all profits from the event shared between EACH, Havens Hospices, and the Railway Mission.
The planned route and timings are as follows:
London Liverpool Street depart 09.40
Clacton depart 12.40
Walton depart 13.29
Harwich Town depart 14.46
Stowmarket depart 15.44
Southend Victoria depart 18.06
London Liverpool Street arrive 18.57
There is no on-board catering planned, but those travelling can either bring refreshments with them, purchase items at London Liverpool Street or take advantage of a 50 minute break in Clacton.
Bookings can only be made online at: https://railplus.greateranglia.co.uk/class-321-farewell-charity-train-event.html
Anyone with any queries about the event can ring 0345 600 7245 and choose option 3, followed by option 2 to find out more details.
The event follows previous enthusiasts’ charity specials run by Greater Anglia in the region in 2016, 2017 and 2019 using Class 37 locomotives, Class 68 locomotives, and Class 37 locomotives respectively.
With hospices in Milton (Cambridgeshire), The Nook, near Norwich (Norfolk) and The Treehouse, near Ipswich (Suffolk) and offering support across those three counties and for families from Essex too, EACH provides services across a similar area to Greater Anglia. Havens Hospices supports families in a similar way in mid and South Essex. The Railway Mission is a charity which offers friendship and a listening ear to anyone connected with our nation’s railways – be that members of staff, customers or the wider public – during an individual’s time of loneliness, stress, depression, bereavement, or illness.
Jonathan Denby, Head of Corporate Affairs for Greater Anglia said: "We're pleased to be running this special Class 321 Farewell trip to mark their impending withdrawal, as the full roll out of new trains on to every single Greater Anglia service gets nearer and nearer. We’re glad to be raising funds for three charities with strong links to the Greater Anglia network - EACH, Havens Hospices, and the Railway Mission. They are all extremely worthwhile causes focused on the region we serve and supported by many of our employees.
Taking in routes which have been synonymous with Class 321s throughout their life, we hope the trip will be very popular and generate an impressive contribution to EACH, Havens Hospices and Railway Mission funds. It promises to be a great day out for all involved."