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Steam engine Tornado, which featured on Top Gear, will bring special train to Harwich for Kindertransport and Sir Nicholas Winton commemorations

PUBLISHED: 18:00 27 April 2016 | UPDATED: 13:11 28 April 2016

Tornado at Ipswich. Photo: Tony Gooch

Tornado at Ipswich. Photo: Tony Gooch

A special steam train will visit Essex and Suffolk this summer in connection with the part Harwich played in saving thousands of children at the start of the Second World War.

As the war grew nearer in the late 1930s, an operation was launched to rescue Jewish children from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland. They were taken across Europe to the Netherlands where they boarded boats bound for Harwich, and then trains for Liverpool Street Station in London.

One man heavily involved in this mission, known as Kindertransport, was Nicholas Winton, later Sir Nicholas.

He arranged foster homes for hundreds of the child refugees entering Britain.

Sir Nicholas died last year aged 106. Now an event retracing part of the Kindertransport journey is being run on the first anniversary of his death.

The Winton Train, hauled by steam locomotive no. 60163 Tornado, is planned to bring passengers from London to Harwich in luxurious Pullman coaches as part of a day of events on July 1. In between the return journey there will be a series of shuttles between Harwich and Manningtree and Ipswich.

The locomotive, newly built by enthusiasts in the 21st century, was the star of one of the famous Top Gear races in 2009.

People living locally will also be able to get hold of discounted tickets for the trip.

Paul Hedderly, managing director of Papyrus Rail which is organising the trip, said: “There’s going to be five shuttles to and from Harwich International. Some of the seats will be for special groups, some are going to the Kinder and their families and some will be for local residents.”

Discounted tickets for the shuttles are planned for people living in Harwich and other parts of Essex and Suffolk.

“I think it’s important that today’s children learn about what happened in 1939,” Mr Hedderly said.

“It’s important to our history and Harwich is a part of that because it was not until the children reached Harwich they were safe.”

As well as the steam train, a Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance will be held in St Nicholas Church, Harwich and the annual Harwich Children’s carnival will feature an appropriate theme.

The Electric Palace Cinema will screen special Kindertransport archive material and a fleet of vintage buses will take guests to the Kindertransport memorial on Harbour Crescent.

Visit http://papyrus-rail.com for more information on the steam train shuttles, the main trip and tickets.

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