A RAILWAY locomotive taking part in anniversary celebrations in Hampshire made a special stop - not at a station but in a nearby street.

The 92-ton Wadebridge was the centrepiece of a two-day festival held in Eastleigh to mark half a century since steam trains stopped passing through the town.

Wadebridge operated in the south and visited Eastleigh station for the last time in July 1967.

She returned at the weekend to take part in Celebration of Steam, organised by Eastleigh Borough Council and other organisations including the Mid Hants Railway.

Wadebridge arrived by low-loader and was placed on a short stretch of temporary track outside Poundland - within sight of the station.

Children queued up for the chance to climb into the cab and inspect the controls.

Wadebridge had been "weathered" to show people what she looked like at the end of the steam era and the words "Don't let me die!!" could be seen on the front of the 72-year-old locomotive.

The absence of her coal tender enabled festival-goers to enjoy a clear view of the engine's footplate.

Built in 1945, Wadebridge was based at several locations over the years, including Salisbury, and clocked up 823,103 miles before being taken out of service in the 1960s.

A festival spokesman said: "In July 1967 stream trains including Wadebridge visited Eastleigh station for the very last time.

"Diesel and electric trains may have been more efficient but they had nowhere near the romance and magnificence of their magnificent, coal-powered predecessors."

Wadebridge was supplied by the Mid Hants Railway, which is planning to give it an overhaul.

Eastleigh Railway Preservation Society was one of the groups that took part in the festival, held at Market Place and Leigh Road Recreation Ground.

Some of the food was provided by the Chew Chew BBQ using a cooker that resembled a small steam engine.