Full steam ahead for historic train

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Railway enthusiasts were given a treat after a rare steam train passed through the region.

The Union of South Africa steam locomotive was witnessed by dozens of admirers as it made its way from London Victoria to York.

The train, built in Doncaster in 1937, is one of only six remaining Gresley A4s and is currently in private ownership.

Grant Shaw, co-author of Railway Tales - Ilkeston and District in the age of Steam, described seeing the Union of South Africa as a “real treat”.

The 48-year-old probate executive said: “35 A4s were built but now there’s only six left so it is rare that you see one - particularly on the Erewash Valley line.

“The Union of South Africa is a very unique design, its bold and striking to look at. It’s a particular favourite amongst steam locomotive fans but I think anyone can appreciate its distinct and exciting look.”

The Union of South Africa’s sibling, the 4468 Mallard holds the steam powered speed record of 126mph, set in 1938.