Published 11th March 2013
Vintage Trains is the well-known main line steam operating charity which also runs the Tyseley Locomotive Works in Birmingham.
They are running a couple of fast express steam services this year recreating the ‘crack trains’ of the 1950s. The first one runs on April 6 when ‘The Marylebone Flyer’ departs from Birmingham Moor Street just before 10am and runs non-stop to London Marylebone using their GWR ‘Castle’, No. 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe.
Given that any steam locomotive has a safe operating range given its water usage of around 60 to 80 miles depending on the route and trailing load, how is it possible to run over 110 miles non-stop? The answer is by using a converted goods carriage which now contains water tanks and is connected by pipes to the engine’s tender behind the locomotive.
This is not often used and so to ensure that everything is tested and ready for this challenging train, Vintage Trains is running an evening special from their Tyseley base on March 28. This will be the engine’s first trip in 2013 and after planned winter maintenance; they want to check that everything and the water carrier behind the tender is in 100% working order.
This evening trip will feature World class curries as the train travels on a circular route round the East Midlands. Deolali of Moseley are providing a sumptuous selection of tasting dishes for your enjoyment from popadums & samosas to start; mango or pistachio kulfi for dessert.
The train leaves shortly before 6pm from Tyseley Locomotive Works own platform, 10 minutes away from Tyseley main line station. It then calls at Coleshill Parkway before venturing out across the Warwickshire and Leicestershire countryside. There will be a brief stop at Leicester to check and service the loco, before heading north through Loughborough and then turning back towards Tyseley via Burton-on-Trent and Tamworth arriving back at Tyseley after 9pm.
The train is billed primarily as a test run for the engine and the water-carrier and once the train is moving, the timings could change without notice. The cost of a ticket is: Premium Dining: ₤70 which includes Curry & a beer, ranging to a Standard Class seat at ₤35 which excludes refreshments.
This is not a James Bond themed train but the name given to a market day trip to Salisbury and there is the clue as to the name. Vintage Trains say that a ‘Moonraker’ is the colloquial term for people (and maybe locomotives too?) born and bred in the county of Wiltshire which obviously includes Swindon where the engine was built.
The train starts from Solihull and calls at Dorridge, Warwick Parkway and Banbury before travelling non-stop through Oxford, Didcot, Reading and Basingstoke for a high speed run through the countryside to Salisbury.
Two of Tyseley’s Great Western Locos will take a train from Bristol to Plymouth on April 27. Taking the service between Birmingham to Bristol in both directions, is the iconic ‘Western’ No. D1015 Western Champion after a two year overhaul.
This is the UK’s most popular diesel and replaced the GWR’s ‘Castle Class’ locomotives so there is a nice touch with this tour! For all these trains, call 0121 708-4960 for availability.
Tyseley Locomotive Works is normally out of bounds to the public but will be opened on the weekend of June 22 and 23. The Tyseley Locomotive Collection includes three GWR ‘Castle class’ engines, an LMS ‘Jubilee’, a GWR ‘Hall’, three GWR ‘Pannier’ tanks, a class 47 diesel No. 47773. The Works is shunted by an 0-6-0 diesel-shunter and a range of industrial engines are sometimes present. Usually there are several visiting locomotives at the Works for overhaul, repairs, maintenance or just stabling.
One of the ‘Castles’ No. 7029 Clun Castle is currently the subject of a restoration appeal so progress on this project will hopefully be able to be monitored in June at this event. When open to the public, some locomotives and other rolling stock may not be on view in areas accessible by visitors to Tyseley Locomotive Works. During Open Days - locomotives will be displayed as advertised
The open weekend will see as many as possible of these on display along with visiting locomotives as available but the LMS giant, ‘Duchess’ No. 46233 Duchess of Sutherland has been confirmed.
Written by Phil Marsh