Greater Anglia to run second rail enthusiasts’ charity train
Class 68 locomotive railtour to raise funds for East Anglia's Children's Hospices
Greater Anglia is to run a rail enthusiasts' charity charter train on Saturday 16 September to raise funds for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH).
The special trip will operate with one of the company’s intercity MkIII carriage sets "top and tailed" by two Class 68 diesel locomotives. It will run from Norwich to Ely and back, then from Norwich up the Great Eastern Main Line to London Liverpool Street and back – different routes from where the locomotives have previously been operating.
The price for this "one-off" trip is £60 Standard or £95 First Class (including complimentary tea/coffee/water), with all profits from the event donated to EACH.
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.
The planned timings for the trip are as follows:
Norwich depart 10.20
Ely arrive 11.28
Ely depart 11.55
Norwich arrive 12.55
Norwich depart 13.33
London Liverpool St arrive 15.34
London Liverpool St depart 16.24
Norwich arrive 18.21
The train operator is also auctioning two opportunities for a cab ride - one from Norwich to Ely and the other from Ely to Norwich. Anyone booking on the tour can bid for this very rare opportunity to experience a driver's eye view of a rail journey. The participants making the two highest individual bids, received on the site by the end of Sunday 10 September, will win the cab rides. Again, the money raised will go to EACH.
A café bar serving light refreshments will be available on-board throughout the day, further increasing the charitable contribution from the event. 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 Class 68 locomotives have been used on some weekday passenger services between Norwich and Great Yarmouth/Lowestoft since Summer 2016, firstly to cover for a train needing long term repairs and latterly to provide cover during the roll out of Greater Anglia’s innovative Wheel Slip Protection modification programme for its Class 156 diesel units (an initiative which makes the trains’ wheels less susceptible to damage, thereby improving reliability, especially during the challenging autumn period when track conditions can be difficult).
The period of Class 68 operation on regular Greater Anglia services is due to come to an end on Friday 8 September, so to mark the end of the locomotives’ time in the region, Greater Anglia is running a follow-up to its highly successful EACH Express trip with Class 37 diesels at the end of April 2016. It will follow the same itinerary as that trip, with journeys from Norwich to Ely and back and then Norwich to London and back.
The trip is being run with valuable support from Direct Rail Services (DRS), which hires the Class 68s to Greater Anglia and will be providing the drivers for the trip. With more than 550 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 68 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. Taking in two routes on which the Class 68 locomotives haven’t been operating passenger services, we hope it will be very popular and generate an impressive contribution to EACH funds. It promises to be a great day out for all involved."
Graham Butland, Chief Executive, from EACH said: “We’re thrilled this second special charter train will benefit EACH. It’s a wonderful opportunity for rail enthusiasts to travel behind these locomotives before they leave East Anglia, while also supporting local families. We’re very grateful to Greater Anglia for their generosity and support, and would urge people to book their place quickly to avoid disappointment.”