A REPLICA of the famous Mayflower ship is embarking on an unusual voyage from Harwich to London to highlight tourism opportunities in Essex.

The 18-foot reproduction of the 17th century ship will be transported to London Liverpool Street station where it will become the centrepiece of the station on Wednesday *May 15*.

Rail users will be able to learn about the history of the Harwich-built ship which sailed the pilgrim fathers to America in 1620.

The Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership is transporting the replica to the captial.

Terri Ryland, Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership officer, said: "It’s going to be an eye-catching sight on the concourse at Liverpool Street and we really hope it will turn some heads and attract people to our stall.

“Our aim is to attract Londoners to visit Essex by rail and enjoy the fantastic attractions, countryside, coasts and historic sites the counties have to offer."

The highly detailed model was built five years ago by college apprentices local to Harwich, originally for a reception at the American Embassy in London.

It took eight weeks to build after careful study of paintings of the ship and research into historic archives to find out its size so the model could be accurately scaled.

It is due to arrive at London Liverpool Street 6am on Wednesday accompanied by Tony Elliston, chairman of the Harwich Mayflower Heritage Centre who donated the ship for the event.

Tony said: "We will be promoting the Mayflower 2020 events in Harwich for next year as well as the town's heritage centre.

"It's just going to London for the day, but we hope it will be of interest."

The model will be part of the nationwide community rail in the city event which will see more than 42 groups joining forces across the country to showcase some of Britain's most scenic rail journeys.

Jools Townsend, chief executive of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships which organises the community rail in the city event, said: "Our members will be popping up at stations across Britain and engaging thousands of people to inspire and advise on day trips, weekends and holidays by rail."

For more information, visit communityrail.org.uk.