On the day that marked the 50th anniversary of the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill, York’s National Railway Museum commemorated his final journey by reuniting the former prime minister’s funeral train for the first time since 1965.
To the sounds of a train whistle and a chamber choir, Southern Railway’s Battle of Britain Class locomotive No. 34051 Winston Churchill was reunited with goods van S2464S and luxurious Pullman carriage Lydia and brought into the limelight in front of an audience from across the Britain.
Churchill’s Final Journey @ National Railway Museum
Until May 3, 2015
The first two vehicles have been restored to their former glory in time for the museum’s Churchill’s Final Journey display in the NRM’s Shildon workshop and at the Mid Hants Railway Ropley Works.
Along with Lydia, they will represent the funeral train which transported the great statesman’s coffin, the Churchill family and honoured guests from Waterloo, London, to Hanborough, Oxfordshire, telling the story of the last steam-hauled state funeral.
From Hanborough, Churchill’s coffin was taken to St Martin’s Church, Bladon near Blenheim.
Churchill was the only statesman to be given a state funeral in the 20th century and on that historic occasion On January 30, 1965 thousands of people stood at station platforms to see him on his solemn last journey.
The display includes archive news footage of the funeral, which saw millions more worldwide clustered around their TV sets to witness this milestone in world history, and personal audio accounts from those with a special connection to that memorable day.
Jim Lester, the fireman on the footplate of the Winston Churchill back in 1965, was present to witness the funeral train brought back together half a century later.
History in pictures
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