Published 28th January 2013
Vintage Trains has established an enviable reputation over the last 15 years and are well known for running special steam services across the UK from their Tyseley Locomotive Works in Birmingham.
They are promoting a special ‘Valentines Express’ steam hauled Pullman train on February 16 from Tyseley to Leicester on a circular route also calling at Coleshill Parkway. The steam locomotive is Tyseley’s Great Western Railway ‘Hall Class’ No. 4965 Rood Ashton Hall and the train leaves at around noon for a four hour leisurely trip.
There are several classes of on-train accommodation available ranging from standard class non-dining priced at £45 per person to Premier Dining at £125 including a 4-course Valentines dinner.
A limited amount of tables for two in Premier Dining may be available but were nearly sold out in mid January. These cost a supplementary payment of £20 per table. A non dining First Class Compartment offering seating for up to six persons costs £300.
Vintage Trains has generously offered rail.co.uk a pair of first class dining tickets worth £250 as a competition prize.
The Valentine’s Express offers dining passengers a 4-course luncheon aboard the Vintage Trains’ luxury steamhauled Pullman dining train providing a taste of the romance of steam and the luxury era of rail travel. Vintage Trains’ Chefs freshly prepare the food on the train to accompany the initial glass of champagne with the stated aim of enveloping passengers in the
romance which only a steam train can create.
The special Valentine’s Day meal, available only in the Pullman Dining coaches, will commence with champagne to accompany a traditional Shrimp Cocktail followed by Beef Wellington with seasonal vegetables. Dessert will
begin with a Raspberry Chocolate Mousse, followed by a Cheese Plate, with tea or coffee to complete the meal.
The Pullman train departs from the Vintage Trains private station at Tyseley Warwick Road just before 12 noon, setting off through Warwickshire and on into the Leicestershire countryside. There will be a chance at Leicester to take photographs of and with the engine as well as to stretch your legs before tackling the desert!
The return journey takes in the Midland main line via Loughborough and the cross-country route via Burton-on-Trent and Tamworth arriving back at Tyseley shortly before sunset.
The journey is hauled throughout the day by 4965 Rood Ashton Hall, painstakingly restored to 1930’s livery and immaculately presented with the Great Western Railway’s signature, the copper-capped chimney glinting in the winter sunlight.
Vintage Trains offer what is possibly the best value for money in the UK so as regular main line steam services are concerned every Sunday between June 30 and September 8 inclusive. They operate two round trips a day between Birmingham Moor Street and Stratford on Avon.
Vintage Trains is asking this question with a pair of express stream trains this Spring. They are running ‘The Marylebone Express’, a non-stop steam hauled train from Birmingham Moor Street to London Marylebone on April 6 using GWR ‘Castle’ No. 5043 Earle of Mount Edgcumbe.
Perhaps a more exciting prospect is the recreation of ‘The Cheltenham Flyer’, at one time the World’s fastest steam service. The date is yet to be released but it looks like taking place in May.
Vintage Trains has just released its 2013 program and they are offering trains to places as far apart as Carlisle, Scarborough, Salisbury, Newport, Llandudno and Plymouth. Vintage are using two LMS Express steam locomotives on some of these trains, No. 6233 Duchess of Sutherland and Royal Scot No. 46115 Scots Guardsman which was once owned by Pete Waterman.
Vintage are also hosting a couple of Open Days at Tyseley, the first is on June 22 and 23. There will be engines in steam, railway displays and behind the scenes tours available in this normally very private Locomotive Works.
Vintage Trains has another GWR ‘Castle’ in its locomotive fleet. This is a very historic engine and is currently being overhauled with all profits from their main line operations funding this restoration. It has been nearly 50 years since the Great Western's last express passenger engine was withdrawn from traffic by British Railways.
The engine is No. 7029 Clun Castle, has its own historic place in the preserved steam era being the first locomotive to haul a passenger train (after trials with No. 6000 in 1971) on the main line being in charge of many memorable special trains during the '70's and '80's.
During the early '90's 7029 was a fundamental part of Tyseley's ground-breaking “Drive a Loco” courses where hundreds of would be steam engine drivers fulfilled their ambition to drive a main line GWR steam locomotive
Ten years ago, the engine required its scheduled overhaul and to date, all the work on the wheels and axleboxes has been completed and that the locomotive frames are now firmly sitting on their own wheels again with a new set of springs fitted. Many of the fittings and much of the pipework is overhauled and ready for assembly and repairs to the tender are expected to be fully completed by the Summer.
The boiler has seen a considerable amount of work carried out and once this is completed, the engine can be reunited with the frames and final fitting out and testing commenced. Donations have been a major benefit to the project and the stated aim for this year is to raise the money to complete the boiler repairs and to fund the procurement of the complex electronic equipment required for operation on today’s railway.
Which North Sea holiday resort does Vintage Trains operate to?
Posted on Monday 28th January 2013 | 9:00 PM
THE ANSWER IS SCARBOROUGH