Tyseley century


BR built, GWR designed, 7029 Clun Castle in the then remaining half of the two turntable shed at Tyseley in 1967, © Michael Whitehouse, The Shakespeare Express

(click to see picture in original context)

Birmingham Railway Museum Trust is holding two open days at Tyseley Locomotive Works, in Birmingham, this weekend, on Saturday 28 June and Sunday 29 June, ‘ to celebrate 100 years of continuous operation as a locomotive depot’. A short account of the depot’s history can be found on the vintage trains website here.

Among the attractions at the works will be a line-up of Great Western Railway steam engines; three GWR Castles, up to three GWR Halls, four GWR pannier tanks, a replica Puffing Billy, and freight train and turntable demonstrations. The London Midland Railway traction maintenance depot opposite will also be open on Saturday.

Other planned events include the recommissioning of GWR Castle 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe; the return of LMS Jubilee 45593 Kolhapur to Tyseley; and the launch of an appeal to restore Clun Castle – the vehicle which started the works’ steam train collection in January 1966. A former driver of 7029 Clun Castle will be giving talks on his life on the footplate.

Full details of the weekend is given on a special section of the Shakespeare express website. Tyseley Locomotive works has restored a number of derelict steam ‘ex Barry’ steam locomotives, including: Rood Ashton Hall and Earl of Mount Edgcumbe. The picture of restored Rood Ashton Hall hauling a Shakespeare Express luxury train and Earl of Mount Edgcumbe in unrestored condition gives an indication as to the enormous amount of work that has to be put in to get an ‘ex Barry’ locomotive to mainline running order.

Parking facilities at Tyseley are quite limited. If you are planning to go we suggest that you follow the organiser’s recommendations and travel by rail. Trains will be making additional stops at Tyseley during the weekend.

Tyseley has two links, albeit rather indirect, with the railway heritage scene in Poland. In BR days in the early 60s it was the home of ex GWR small prairie 4555, one of the first ex BR engines to be privately preserved. 4555 is the same class of locomotive as Bill Parker’s 5521 currently at Wroclaw.

Secondly, it services the steam locomotive that hauls the ‘Shakespeare Express‘ which runs twice every Sunday from 6 July to 14 September over Network Rail tracks. This is the nearest thing in Great Britain to the regular steam haulage of ordinary timetabled trains over part of the national railway network, which takes place in Poland daily, and which makes Wolsztyn so very special.

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