Facebook goes loco over Tyseley steam train

Classic locomotive takes to the rails for the summer.

An historic record-breaking steam locomotive that boasts its own Facebook fan page will make two special trips from Birmingham this month.

Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, which was built at Swindon in 1936, will take the Mersey Express to Liverpool on Saturday June 1st. Then the following Saturday it will pull the Ffestiniog Express to Llandudno in North Wales.

The gleaming green Castle class locomotive used to haul expresses on the old Great Western Railway. With its giant 6ft 8ins wheels, it could reach almost 100mph and it once held the record for the fastest non-stop journey from Plymouth to Bristol

Now owned by Tyseley-based Vintage Trains, Earl of Mount Edgcumbe even has its own Facebook page. More than 500 members regularly post photographs of it and swap reminiscences. One enthusiast raved: “Best-looking Castle in preservation by far.”

A spokesman for operators Vintage Trains said: “The Earl is indeed a majestic steam engine. It was the pride of the old Great Western Railway and once held the record for the fastest non-stop journey from Plymouth to Bristol.”

The Mersey Express will set out from Tyseley at 9am on Saturday, picking up more passengers at New Street at 9.30, before also calling at Wolverhampton (10am), Stafford (10.20) and Crewe (10.50). After arriving in Liverpool at 12.30, passengers will have five hours free to explore the city or take a special cut-price cruise down the River Mersey.

The following weekend’s trip to Wales will give passengers the chance to take a ride on the narrow-gauge Blaenau Ffestiniog railway, the oldest railway company in the world. That will depart from Dorridge at 7am, caling at Widney Manor (7.05), New Street (7.45), Wolverhampton (8.10), Stafford (8.45) and Crewe (9.15).

Vintage Trains are also running a special steam-hauled trip to Stratford-upon-Avon on Fathers Day, June 16th, and on Saturday June 22nd either Earl of Mount Edgcumbe or sister loco Clun Castle will haul the Cathedrals Express to Hereford and Cardiff.

Fares start at £35 (£15 for children). For more details and to book, see vintagetrains.co.uk.