The Return to Steam 50th Anniversary Special

7029 Clun Castle

Saturday 2nd October 2021


On the first Saturday in October 1971, GWR King Class No 6000 King George V broke out of Bulmers Railway Centre in Hereford for a trial steam run to Birmingham and broke the official British Rail 1968 ban of steam on the mainline. Today we celebrate the return – on the same day and on part of the same route with the same locomotive which went on to haul to first official ‘Return to Steam’ celebration run in 1972.  The day begins at Tyseley Locomotive Works, we then pick up at Birmingham Snow Hill. We will take the north and west route through Worcester to Gloucester. Here we join the picturesque and fast run along the Severn Estuary via Newport to our destination in Cardiff.

There will be around three hours to explore the beautiful capital city of Wales. Its Norman Castle, civic centre housing the national Museum of Wales, the St David’s shopping centre and an eclectic mix of pubs and restaurants are all within walking distance of the station. Originally known as Cardiff General, the Grade II listed station has seen major renovation yet retains much of its original architectural detail with GWR glazed wall tiling, elegant Portland stone engraved ‘Great Western Railway’ façade and art deco lit booking hall.

We depart Cardiff, passing through Newport then continuing as the original Return to Steam” special to join the South Wales mainline, for a sprint through the Severn Tunnel to Swindon and a water stop at Milton. We continue to Birmingham with a photo stop at Banbury and a climb up Hatton bank.. We will stop to set down passengers at Birmingham Snow Hill and Tyseley Locomotive Works.

Joining arrangements

Join the train at Tyseley Locomotive Works (limited pre-booked free car parking available avoiding Birmingham’s congestion charge) or Birmingham Snow Hill. You may leave the train on the return at either Birmingham Snow Hill Street station or Tyseley Locomotive Works..

This trip will have a diesel support locomotive on the rear of the train.

Seating Arrangements

Seating is available in  “Bubbles” of two or four Pullman Cars and Open Coaches. Private Compartments for six people are also available. You will be seated at tables of two or four or in a Private Compartment in your selected Coach according to your booking. You will not be allocated specific seats.

Boarding Card

A boarding card confirming your booking details and allocated coach will be emailed to you upon completion of your booking. Please print this boarding card to access the train. Separate tickets are not issued.

Final Details and Timings

Final details and timings will be published on this web page  7 – 10 days prior to the date of the train.

Book Seats

Step One
Select Class of Travel

Step Two
Select Coach

Step Three
Select Number of Passengers in Bubble

Step Four
Complete Details

Step  Five


Select the station from which you intend to join the train

Meals are included in Pullman and Club Class. If you would prefer a vegetarian option please indicate Number of Vegetarian Meals Required

Passengers who require assistance to travel should contact us at to discuss their requirements prior to booking.