20 february 2019
clun castle to make its main line return on the stourbridge line
Great Western “Castle” Class locomotive 7029 “Clun Castle” will make its first appearance hauling a passenger train on the main line network for over 30 years with a return trip over the Stourbridge line on the evening of Thursday 28 February.
The engine was one of the last of over 160 Castles designed by Charles Collett and introduced by the Great Western Railway from 1923 onwards. In fact, this engine was not built until 1950, over 2 years after nationalisation. It spent the majority of its working life based in Devon at Newton Abbot and Laira (Plymouth) sheds before being retired and bought for preservation in 1966. It gained fame by running the final steam trains out of London Paddington and Birmingham Snow Hill before steam operation by British Railways ceased in 1967, as well as hauling the final train from Birmingham Moor Street before the terminus was closed (albeit temporarily) in 1987.
The engine last operated in preservation on the main line in 1988 but, after extensive overhaul, is ready to grace the main line network again.
If all goes to plan, the engine will be operating on a number of occasions over the Stourbridge line over the next three months as the following proposed schedule demonstrates. Please note that all times below are subject to confirmation and may possibly change.
Thursday 28 February - An evening tour from Birmingham Moor Street to Worcester and back, operating via Stourbridge Junction and Kidderminster in both directions. The train is currently scheduled to leave Moor Street at 17:42 and is expected to pass Stourbridge Junction at 18:41 and 20:12, and Kidderminster at 18:57 and 20:01.
Thursday 7 March - An evening tour from Birmingham Moor Street to Worcester and back, operating via Stourbridge Junction and Kidderminster in both directions. The scheduled is expected to be the same as above.
Saturday 9 March - “The Cotswold Explorer” - A day excursion from Birmingham Moor Street to Oxford via Stourbridge Junction, Worcester Shrub Hill, Cheltenham Spa, Swindon, Oxford, Evesham, Worcester and Stourbridge Junction. This train will pick up and set down at both Stourbridge Junction (08:52 / 19:32) and Worcester Shrub Hill (10:04 / 18:59) and will allow 4 hours in Oxford.
Saturday 6 April - “The Cotswold Explorer” - A repeat of the 9 March excursion with the same proposed timings.
Saturday 18 May - “The Cotswold Explorer” - A repeat of the 9 March excursion with the same proposed timings.
Saturday 25 May - “The Welsh Marches Explorer” - A day excursion from Dorridge to Hereford following a circular route via Snow Hill, Stourbridge Junction, Worcester Shrub Hill, Cheltenham Spa, Chepstow, Abergavenny, Hereford, Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton and Birmingham New Street. The train is scheduled to depart Snow Hill at 08:45 so should pass through Stourbridge Junction just after 09:00.
Up-to-date details on these tours and timings can be found by clicking below.