Greater Anglia to run rail enthusiasts’ charity train

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Greater Anglia is to run a rail enthusiasts' charity charter train on Saturday 18 May to raise funds for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH).

The special trip will operate with 5 MkII carriages "top and tailed" by two Class 37 diesel locomotives.

It will run from Norwich to Ely, then to King's Lynn, then via Cambridge and the West Anglia route to London Liverpool Street, before returning to Norwich via the Great Eastern Main Line – all routes with which these locomotives have been closely associated for much of their lives.

The price for this "one-off" trip is £80, with all profits from the event donated to EACH.

The trip also provides an extra opportunity to enjoy the Class 37s in East Anglia before they are withdrawn from passenger service in the region as Greater Anglia phases in new trains from this summer. The planned route and timings are as follows:

Norwich depart 10.20

Ely arrive 11.25

Ely depart 11.35

King's Lynn arrive 12.07

King's Lynn depart 12.14

London Liverpool St arrive 14.39

London Liverpool St depart 16.27

Norwich arrive 18.19

The train operator is also auctioning an opportunity for a cab ride from Norwich to Ely. Anyone booking on the tour can bid for this very rare opportunity to experience a driver's eye view of a rail journey. The participant making the highest individual bid, received on the site by the end of Sunday 12 May, will win the cab ride. Again, the money raised will go to EACH.

This third special follows Greater Anglia’s highly successful EACH Express trips with Class 37 diesels in 2016 and Class 68 diesels in 2017. It is being run with valuable support from Direct Rail Services (DRS), which hires the Class 37s and carriages to Greater Anglia. With 250 seats available, a sold-out trip would generate significant funds for this very worthwhile cause.

With hospices in Milton (Cambridgeshire), Quidenham (Norfolk) and 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 and the itinerary for the trip takes the train quite close to all three hospices.

The charity has previously been chosen by employees as the recipient of charitable funds linked to the company's employee survey and last year’s EACH Express trip, as well as more localised fund-raising initiatives. In addition to its wider fund-raising work, the charity is currently raising money towards "The Nook", a new hospice for Norfolk to succeed Quidenham.

Jonathan Denby, Head of Corporate Affairs for Greater Anglia said: "We're delighted to be running this special Class 37 railtour to raise funds for East Anglia's Children's Hospices. It's an extremely worthwhile cause focused on the region we serve and supported by many of our employees. With the introduction of the new trains from the summer, the Class 37s are nearing the end of time operating Greater Anglia services.

"Taking in routes which have been synonymous with Class 37 locomotives in the past, we hope the trip will be very popular and generate an impressive contribution to EACH funds. It promises to be a great day out for all involved."

Elaine John, Head of Major Supporters for EACH said: “We’ve been privileged to benefit from the first two special charter trains and are delighted Greater Anglia’s continuing its support this year. This will be a wonderful opportunity for rail enthusiasts to travel behind these locomotives before they leave East Anglia whilst also supporting children, young people and their families across the region.”

Bookings can only be made online via https://public.greenrailtravel.co.uk, clicking on the Special Trains/Events tab and choosing the Greater Anglia Specials option.

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.