Published: 21st June 2016
The boiler was lifted into the frames of GWR modified ‘Castle’ No. 7029 Clun Castle at Tyseley on June 11. This major step forward in the restoration of the locomotive which could be viewed as the ‘founder’ of the steam locomotive collection at Tyseley to steam was achieved in time for No. 7029 to be displayed at Tyseley Loco Works Steam Open Weekend over June 25-26.
The overhauled boiler was lifted into the frames (wheeled two years ago) in the modern workshops part-funded by Birmingham City Council’s Tyseley Property Assistance Programme/European Regional Development Fund. "Although there is still a long way to go, this represents a major milestone in the restoration of Clun Castle," said Workshop and Clun Castle Project Manager, Alastair Meanley. "There are many months of hard work still ahead to complete the overhaul. We plan to start trials later this year and begin mainline operations in the spring of next year."
Clun Castle, one of only two surviving modified ‘Castle’ Class steam locomotives, is viewed as Tyseley’s flagship loco. The other survivor is Tyseley’s No. 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe , a regular performer on Birmingham Snow Hill to Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare Express trains which run on summer Sundays. Between 1964 and 2014 Clun Castle held the record for the fastest steam-hauled train between Plymouth and Bristol over the punishing Devon Banks. The record was unintentionally beaten by none other than Earl of Mount Edgcumbe !
Clun Castle hauled the last steam passenger service from Paddington to Banbury in 1965 and was the last steam locomotive to run into the old Snow Hill station in March 1967. In 1972 it hauled the first ‘Return to Steam’ special when BR relaxed its ban on steam, then carried HRH Prince Charles from the new Snow Hill station to Tyseley in order to view a 1988 exhibition celebrating 150 years of the London to Birmingham Railway.
The special place in the hearts at Tyseley arose when Clun Castle was purchased - for a little over £3,000 - from BR in 1966 by a group led by Pat Whitehouse. It was placed in a Trust to secure its future and paved the way for mainline steam locomotive preservation.
The current overhaul, expected to carry a price tag of approaching £1million, began in earnest in 2010. Funding has been provided by private donations and the proceeds from Tyseley’s engineering works, together with ticket sales on The Shakespeare Express and Vintage Trains steam excursions from Tyseley.
No. 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe will be one of many steam locomotives on view at the June 25-26 Steam Open Weekend at Tyseley which features steam-hauled rides and workshop visits. Projects on view in the works include The Bahamas Locomotive Society’s ‘Jubilee’ No. 45596 Bahamas and unique BR Pacific No. 71000 Duke of Gloucester . Other attractions include trade and refreshment stands, turntable demonstrations and locomotive cavalcades.
The gates open from 10.00 both days, admission for adults is £15 with free entry for accompanied children of 15 and under.
The Birmingham Railway Museum at Tyseley is a ten minute walk from the main line station of the same name and is served by London Midland trains.