Steam train Oliver Cromwell attracts fans as it chugs through Harold Wood and Gidea Park
PUBLISHED: 17:55 23 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:55 23 February 2018
A 67-year-old steam train broke down on one of its final journeys shortly after passing through Havering on Thursday.
Vintage train enthusiasts caught a glimpse of the 70013 Oliver Cromwell passing through Romford, Gidea Park and Harold Wood on its way to Norwich before it broke down near Diss in Norfolk, just seven miles from its last stop.
The 1951 locomotive, which was carrying 350 people who had paid £269 each for a luxury day out, suffered a mechanical fault en route from London Liverpool Street to Norwich.
Roger Lighterness, who took a picture of the locomotive as it passed through Harold Wood, said: “I remember going to see the Oliver Cromwell at Bressingham Steam Museum in the 1970s.
“It was great to see it, especially with Crossrail about to be completed and modern trains starting to appear.
“Many thanks to the TfL staff at the station who were very welcoming to all the spotters.”
John Cooper sent in a picture of the train at Gidea Park. He said: “It was a great sight to see an old steam locomotive pass through my local station.
“As soon as I heard that it was to pass through I just had to make the effort to get down with my camera and take a few pictures.
“You could see the steam billowing from its chimney and its horn sounding as it came around the bend and under the bridge.
“I was surprised at the length of the train and its speed.
“I was not totally surprised to hear it had broken down as it did have a diesel engine tagged on the end as a back-up and I had already read reports of this train and other similar locomotives breaking down on previous trips.
The train, which has spent much of its life travelling between London and East Anglia, is preparing for retirement and has two more journeys left before its certificate expires.
Marcus Robertson, chairman of Steam Dreams, the company which gave train enthusiasts a trip on locomotive’s final journey in its home area, said: “It was disappointing that it broke down but it was a nice day and most of the people onboard were steam fans so they understood these things can go wrong.
“Luckily we had a 60-year-old diesel engine with us which was there to take the train up to the buffers in Liverpool Street.”
The diesel engine helped the Oliver Cromwell into Norwich station 45 minutes late yesterday.
It will be retired after its final journeys in Wales and York but Marcus said enthusiasts are hopeful of getting the train running again in a few years.