ON March 5, 1967 Tyseley’s Collett double-chimney ‘Castle’ No. 7029 Clun Castle became the last steam locomotive to operate out of the old Birmingham Snow Hill station. Now, 50 years later, 84E’s other double-chimney 4-6-0 – No. 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe – will mark that event with a railtour from Snow Hill to Didcot on March 4.
The date of the tour is itself significant, running 50 years to the day since No. 7029 and sister No. 4079 Pendennis Castle worked Ian Allan’s ‘Zulu’ and ‘Birkenhead Flyer’ specials from Banbury and Didcot, respectively, to Chester, helping to bring the curtain down on through workings to Birkenhead from the capital.
Although ‘Clun’ returned to Snow Hill later that day, its big moment came the following day when it hauled a Stephenson Locomotive Society special from Tyseley to Birkenhead.
The return journey ended at Snow Hill, and when No. 7029 left it assured itself a place in the history of the old GWR station, which closed five years later.
Today, the new Snow Hill is a shadow of its predecessor and the former GWR main line to Wolverhampton has given way to the tram lines of the Midland Metro.
It is therefore impossible to re-create those runs of 1967, so instead Vintage Trains will take ‘Edgcumbe’ south from Snow Hill to Didcot.
Departure time is provisionally set for 09.35 with a Didcot arrival at 12.15. Here, passengers will get the opportunity to spend a few hours at Didcot Railway Centre before returning at 16.00.
On the way back No. 5043 will stop at Banbury for a photo call, arriving back in Snow Hill at 19.15.
For details and bookings visit: www.vintagetrains.co.uk
Read more in February’s issue of The RM – out now!