The 2022 Tours Locomotive Fleet
The locomotive which started it all. Clun Castle is a relative newcomer having been built in 1950 by British Railways to the famous Great Western Railway Castle class design. She was modified towards the end of her career and fitted with a four row superheater and double chimney, enabling her to compete with new diesels being introduced on fast trains. And compete she did, taking the record for the shortest timed point to point journey from Plymouth to Bristol in 1964 from the previous record holder, City of Truro. This epic run by the last of her class in every day service ensured 7029’s preservation and she came to Tyseley to begin a distinguished second career in preservation. She powered the last express steam train on the GWR’s northern route to Birkenhead, the last steam train out of both Birmingham Snow Hill and Moor Street stations, so making a trilogy of lasts as she was also the last steam locomotive to run out of Paddington, hauling the last steam train on the Western Region. Not content with that, 7029 hauled the first ‘Return to Steam’ celebration run ending the infamous BR steam ban and was the first steam locomotive to return to Cornwall, a highlight of the 150th anniversary of the GWR. In 1988 she was driven part way to Tyseley by HRH The Prince of Wales in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the London & Birmingham Railway and also ran the very first Shakespeare Express under the Vintage Trains banner.
Earl of Mount Edgcumbe
5043 is our second member of the Castle class but built in 1936 and so an authentic GWR locomotive, named after one of the Directors of the GWR. She was also fitted with the same modifications as 7029 and ran some of the Western Region’s top expresses including The Bristolian, being shedded at London’s Old Oak Common depot. When withdrawn, she was consigned to Barry scrapyard but found too good to destroy. Tyseley Locomotive Works rebuilt 5043 to exacting standards and she has run far and wide for Vintage Trains, including unfamiliar territory such as Stirling and Edinburgh in Scotland. 5043 has recorded some remarkable performances in preservation, including several non-stop runs, recreating The Bristolian, The Cheltenham Spa Express and The Inter City. More recently, she ran on the Plymouth to Bristol route and shaved a few minutes off 7029’s own record. So now we have two record breakers in the collection. 5043 will be back in action in the second half of 2021 after a 10 year boiler overhaul.
Duchess of Sutherland
She became an icon in the world of railway preservation after hauling the Royal Train as part of Her Majesty The Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations in Wales in June 2002 and then again hauling the Royal Train in 2005 over the famous Settle-Carlisle line with HRH The Prince of Wales on board. 6233 was built at Crewe by the LMS in 1938 as a top link express passenger locomotive from the Princess Coronation class, designed to haul the Scottish expresses, such as the famous Royal Scot, from London over the punishing Shap and Beattock banks to Glasgow. She is a member of one of the most powerful classes of express steam locomotives ever built and can handle up to sixteen carriages with ease. When withdrawn, she was put on display at Butlin’s holiday camp in Ayr, Scotland, but moved to Bressingham Steam Museum in 1971. She was then acquired in 1996 by the Derbyshire based Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust and returned to the main line, also with the help of the National Heritage Lottery fund.
The Queen Mother
The Tyseley collection’s main line diesel locomotive 47773 is from one of the most successful of modern diesel electric locomotive classes, built in large numbers to run across the whole British Rail network. Erected by the Brush Falcon Works, Loughborough as D1755, she entered service in August 1964 at Swansea. In November 1974 she was renumbered into TOPS as 47541. On 20th October, 1982, she was named The Queen Mother by HRH The Queen Mother at Aberdeen, named Reservist and renumbered 47773 in August 1994 at Preston Royal Mail terminal and then renamed with her original title, but without ceremony, at Toton freight depot in August 2002; possibly the only locomotive to have been given the same name twice! Withdrawn from service in March 2004, she then bought for preservation at Tyseley in March 2007. Appropriately, she returned to some of her former stamping grounds as she was allocated to the Birmingham Division (Bescot-Saltley) from February 1969 to July 1970, then numbered D1755. Now repainted into the highly suitable and authentic two tone green, 47773 has travelled far and wide for Vintage Trains, including high speed 90 mph runs to Portsmouth. She often supports the collection’s steam locomotives by providing resilience and cover during summer fire bans, but in our current programme she will haul The White Rose to York in her own right.
Now owned by Michael Owen, the two Class 20 locomotives are members of the highly successful English Electric Type 1 light mixed traffic diesel locomotives built as part of the BR modernisation plan between 1957 and 1968. The type is known by railway enthusiasts as ‘Choppers’, a name derived from the distinctive beat that the engine produces when under load, resembling the sound of a helicopter. Unusually for British designs, the locomotive has a single cab. This caused serious problems with visibility when travelling nose first, though in these circumstances the driver’s view was comparable to that on steam locomotives the Class 20’s were to replace. It was common however to find Class 20’s paired together at the nose, with their cabs at opposite ends, ensuring that the driver could clearly see the road ahead. Our trains using these locomotives will follow this practice. In BR days, the use of class 20s on passenger trains was very limited, mainly to summer relief services, particularly to Skegness under the adopted title of “The Jolly Fisherman.”