Shropshire Star

Find out how to take a trip on record-breaking 88-year-old locomotive as it travels through the Midlands

A record-breaking 88-year-old locomotive which once hauled Great Western Railway expresses will take Midlands passengers steaming back in time to the 1950s next weekend.

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Full steam ahead … former Great Western Railway locomotive Number 5043, “Earl of Mount Edgcumbe”, hauls the Shakespeare Express train

Number 5403, a gleaming green engine called “Earl of Mount Edgcumbe”, will set out from Birmingham Snow Hill for Stratford-upon-Avon on Sunday, April 7.

he best Bard none … Pullman class passengers tuck into a hearty breakfast aboard the Shakespeare Express train

And despite its age, the loco is expected to reach 75mph during the 16-mile downhill stretch between Hatton and Tyseley while heading back to Birmingham in the afternoon.

The trip is the first of the summer for the popular Shakespeare Express service, operated by Tyseley-based heritage operator Vintage Trains.

Pullman class dining passengers will tuck into a slap-up breakfast on the way to Stratford, with afternoon tea being served on the return journey.

A spokesman said: “We are looking forward to getting back on track for 2024. This is a real nostalgia trip with a 1930s locomotive hauling renovated carriages from the 1950s.

“Pullman dining tickets are now almost sold out, although we still have a few left in the other carriages.”

But if you do miss Sunday’s train, it will run again on June 16, July 21 and 28, every Sunday in August, September 1 and October 20.

The Earl of Mount Edgcumbe is a Castle Class locomotive built at the Great Western Railway’s Swindon depot in 1936 and weighing 48 imperial tons.

Originally called Barbury Castle after a neolithic hilltop fort in Wiltshire, it was renamed the following year after an aristocratic GWR director.

But with steam working giving way to diesel operation, British Rail withdrew the engine in 1963 and sold it to a Welsh scrapyard to be turned into pots and pans.

Fortunately, it was rescued by enthusiasts and and carefully rebuilt by Vintage Trains at their Victorian railway depot in Tyseley.

Since then it has hauled heritage trains all over Britain, and in 2014 set the speed record between Plymouth and Bristol, covering the journey in just two hours, 11 minutes.

Sunday’s trip to Stratford is scheduled to depart from Snow Hill at 10am, picking up more passengers at Moor Street and Tyseley. It is due back at Snow Hill at 5.12pm.

Fares start at £35. For more details or to book, see