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Last Updated: Friday, 19 May 2006, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
Royal opening of steam train line
Princess Royal meeting railway staff and dignitaries
The royal visit launches a weekend of events
The Princess Royal has ridden on a steam train in the Forest of Dean as part of a line-opening ceremony.

Princess Anne travelled from the Dean Forest Railway's Norchard headquarters in Lydney to Parkend on Friday.

The Princess Royal travelled in a luxurious inspector's carriage fitted with settees and mahogany tables.

She travelled four-and-a-half miles on the Manor class 7802 locomotive to Parkend where she unveiled a plaque to commemorate the occasion.

'Great honour'

The royal visit officially launches a weekend of events celebrating the opening of the extension.

Company chairman Denis Westerberg said: "This is a great honour and formal acknowledgement of all the hard work put in over so many years by so many people.

"It also recognises the importance of the extended railway to the Forest of Dean, both as a growing tourist attraction and as a vital part of our shared goal to develop green tourism within this very special royal forest."

The engine - driven by Harry Jenkins - was typical of one which pulled trains from Gloucester to Cardiff or Hereford in the 1940s.

The line from Lydney to Parkend last saw regular passenger train services in 1929.

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