Tornado train to steam in Walton-on-the-Naze for huge family fun day
PUBLISHED: 16:30 08 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:30 08 August 2017
A classic steam engine will be the star attraction at a stellar family fun day in Walton-on-the-Naze on Saturday, August 12.
Rail enthusiasts are expected to gather on station platforms across Essex to watch the Tornado steam non-stop from London Liverpool Street to Walton to herald the start of a whole host of activities across the town, and celebrate the station’s 150th anniversary.
But they will not have just one opportunity as not only will the train – renamed the Walton Pier Express for the day – make the return trip at the end of the event, but it will run shuttle services between the town and Colchester throughout the day. It first arrives in Walton from the capital at 9.15am, while the first shuttle departs 15 minutes later.
The train was organised by Mark Platt as a way of remembering a late friend who shared a love of speed.
“I always wanted to help the hospice that helped him when he was passing away, we were quite amazed with what they did, and this came out of it,” he said.
Tornado train times
Departs London Liverpool Street: 7.15am
Shuttles to Colchester depart Walton at: 9.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm, 4.30pm, 6.30pm.
Final departure for London: 8.30pm.
All services are non-stop
“It’s the largest event I can think of in Walton in my lifetime.
“The train crew organised an extra carriage when we said how long our reserve ticket list was, which is quite some procedure – you need permission from the Department for Transport – and it is remarkable. We are really grateful.”
While talking to people about the project Mr Platt asked how the town used to cope with 400 people descending from a train when the first services arrived 150 years ago, and discovered a bell used to be rung ahead of the last service to get people back onto the train home. While planning the day, the people who now own the bell have come forward for it to be used once again.
As well as raising funds for St Helena Hospice, in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy one carriage of the train has been donated to London boroughs to give seats to disadvantaged families.
During the fun day in Walton, the pier will be open to families for free – but to gain a free wristband they must first visit five other independent retailers or attractions in the town, including the Naze Tower.
Edward Bell, from Love to Shop Local, has also helped organise the event.
The High Street will be closed to traffic, with chairs and tables set out for people to enjoy the atmosphere, while live music will be performed in Millennium Square.
A classic car show is being held at the Naze, while the day rounds off with a fireworks finale from the end of the pier at 9.30pm.
Mr Platt, who is also chairman of Tendring District Council and a Frinton and Walton town councillor, said the event would not have been possible without a lot of public support, and help from groups including the Frinton and Walton Heritage Trust, Walton Forum, Tendring Scouts and St Helena Hospice volunteers.