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Atlantic Coast Express steam train marks anniversary

By Ed Goodridge
BBC South West

Published
image captionThe original train ran from Waterloo to Ilfracombe, Bude, Padstow and Plymouth
A steam train is making the journey from London to Cornwall later to mark the 50th anniversary of the last Atlantic Coast Express (ACE).
Between 1926 and 1964 the line ran from Waterloo to Ilfracombe, Bude, Padstow and Plymouth.
Friday's anniversary run will not be able to retrace the full route though as many of the lines in north Devon and Cornwall have since closed.
Three locomotives will share the journey from London to Penzance.
image copyrightEd Goodridge
image captionBraunton will be one of the engines involved in the 50th anniversary trip
The Battle of Britain Class locomotive 34067 Tangmere will retrace the trip to Exeter, while the 5029 Nunney Castle & 34046 Braunton will share the Cornish leg of the journey.
According to the North Cornwall Railway website, a summer trip from Waterloo to Padstow in 1953 would leave at 10:35 BST and finally reach the Cornish resort at 17:00 BST.
The last ACE left Padstow in Cornwall on 5 September 1964.
By the middle of the 1960s the Padstow railway line was one of the victims of Dr Beeching's cuts.
media captionThe original train ran from Waterloo to Ilfracombe, Bude, Padstow and Plymouth between 1926 and 1964
Today all that remains is the station house and part of the platform.
The organisers, Steam Dreams, hope crowds will line the route to catch a glimpse of the locomotives as they make their nostalgic journey.
The service left London Victoria at 08:43 BST and is expected to arrive at Penzance at 21.10 BST, calling at various stations along the way.
The four day visit to the region will include many of the branch lines still running, including, on Sunday, both the Falmouth and Newquay lines.
On 8 September, the ACE will retrace its steps from Penzance to Exeter, before finally heading back to London Waterloo.
image captionThe last ACE left Padstow in Cornwall on 5 September 1964

Related Topics

  • Falmouth
  • Padstow
  • Bude
  • Waterloo
  • Ilfracombe
  • Penzance
  • Newquay

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