We celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Stephenson Locomotive Society’s special trains originating from Birmingham and organised by Arthur ‘Cam’ Camwell, the Midland Branch Secretary of the SLS. These trains became an annual event, sought after by ferro-equinologists, as they regularly featured either the last of a Great Western Railway locomotive class or a famous GWR locomotive and visited Swindon works, GWR mecca.
Our train will place the correct locomotive in the correct setting; a double-chimney Castle back on home-ground steaming through the picturesque Cotswold Hills to the GWR town of Swindon. Moreover, Earl of Mount Edgcumbe continues the tradition set by Cam as she is the last of her class to be returned to main line service in the preservation years and a record breaker in her own right.
The day begins at Tyseley Locomotive Works as we head north and west from the heart of Birmingham, heading for Kidderminster and Worcester. After a spirited run through Cheltenham, we turn east past Stroud, heading for the Golden Valley and up the demanding and twisting climb of Sapperton Bank.
Passing Kemble, a well-preserved classic Great Western station, we steam along the newly doubled track towards the birthplace of our engine Swindon, where we will pause to allow a visit to the STEAM Museum or the acclaimed shopping centre, both located at the very heart of the old Swindon Works.
On our return journey, Earl of Mount Edgcumbe will make a short sprint along Brunel’s billiard table to Didcot where we turn northwards towards Birmingham on the GWR Northern Main Line. After a photo stop at Banbury we continue north, climbing the famous Hatton bank before returning to Birmingham.