The last of the venerable Class 321 trains are soon to be withdrawn from service, and Greater Anglia is giving them a sendoff with a special tour across the network.

Class 321 train passes Sniveller’s Lane (c) Greater Anglia

The Class 321 trains were built by British Rail between 1988-91.

According to the Office of Rail and Road, the average age of rolling stock for all passenger train operators is just under 17 years, so at an average of 30 years old, the Class 321 trains are now amongst the oldest on the UK mainline network. They are now being replaced by Greater Anglia’s brand-new Class 720 trains, with the older trains slowly phased out as they are replaced.

So time for a farewell tour to say goodbye to the old trains.

The charter train will run from London Liverpool Street station out to Clacton, Walton, Harwich Town, Stowmarket, back to Shenfield, to Southend Victoria and finally back to London Liverpool Street, covering many of the core routes with which the Class 321s have been closely associated for much of their life.

The trip will also include journeys over a number of loops and sections of railway not normally used by scheduled passenger trains.

The event, aimed primarily at rail enthusiasts, will raise funds for three charities relevant to the Greater Anglia operating area – East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH), Havens Hospices and the Railway Mission.

The price for this one-off trip, which takes place on Saturday 29th April is £70 (or £35 for children aged 5-15).

Tickets can be booked from here, or on 0345 600 7245 — choose option 3, followed by option 2 to find out more details.

(note, when booking, select the tickets from the adults/children drop-down, and ignore the number counter next to the Buy Now button)

The planned route and timings for people to watch from the sidelines are as follows:

  • London Liverpool Street depart 09:40
  • Clacton depart 12:40
  • Walton depart 13:29
  • Harwich Town depart 14:46
  • Stowmarket depart 15:44
  • Southend Victoria depart 18:06
  • London Liverpool Street arrive 18:57

There is no on-board catering planned, but those travelling can either bring refreshments with them, purchase items at London Liverpool Street or take advantage of a 50 minute break in Clacton.

Jonathan Denby, Head of Corporate Affairs for Greater Anglia said: “We’re pleased to be running this special Class 321 Farewell trip to mark their impending withdrawal, as the full roll out of new trains on to every single Greater Anglia service gets nearer and nearer. We’re glad to be raising funds for three charities with strong links to the Greater Anglia network – EACH, Havens Hospices, and the Railway Mission. They are all extremely worthwhile causes focused on the region we serve and supported by many of our employees.

Taking in routes which have been synonymous with Class 321s throughout their life, we hope the trip will be very popular and generate an impressive contribution to EACH, Havens Hospices and Railway Mission funds. It promises to be a great day out for all involved.”

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2 comments
  1. Kevan Lynch says:

    Just passed what I’ve been told is the last ever training course on driving a 321. Mixed feelings on seeing them go, really like moving them around

  2. Arlette Eno-Daynes says:

    Is the class 321 train farewell tour accessible to wheelchairs and is there a disabled toilet on board please?

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