Shropshire Star

Famous steam loco to run through county four times this week - when and where to see it

Railway enthusiasts will have another chance to see a steam locomotive this week.

70000 Britannia passed through Shropshire and Staffordshire while on test last year. Photo: David Stubbings

Two weeks after Mayflower ran through Shropshire and Staffordshire on test runs, operating a circular route to and from Crewe via Chester, Shrewsbury and Stafford, another engine will be following the same route on four consecutive days this week.

British Railways-built Britannia class No. 70000 Britannia, the first loco of 999 to be built by the nationalised company back in 1951, will be running from Tuesday to Friday.

Like Mayflower, the journeys are for training staff at Locomotive Services Ltd on the express passenger loco, which it operates on behalf of Britannia's owning group, before the company starts its 2023 railtour programme next month.

Times for the journeys this week are as follows:

  • Wrexham General - 10.59am

  • Ruabon - 11.05am

  • Chirk - 11.10am

  • Gobowen - 11.13am

  • Shrewsbury 11.39am-11.49am

Once at Shrewsbury station, the train then reverses to Coton Hill sidings, where it arrives at 11.55am before departing at 12.42pm for the return leg to Crewe.

  • After leaving Coton Hill, it will pass through:

  • Shrewsbury - 12.47pm

  • Wellington - 1.05pm

  • Oakengates - 1.10pm

  • Telford Central - 1.12pm

  • Shifnal - 1.16pm

  • Cosford - 1.23pm

  • Penkridge - 2.52pm

  • Rickerscote - 2.59pm

  • Stafford - 3.02pm

People can follow the train's progress on Real Time Trains to see if it's running to time or not.

Tuesday, Crewe to Shrewsbury

Tuesday, Shrewsbury to Crewe

Wednesday, Crewe to Shrewsbury

Wednesday, Shrewsbury to Crewe

Thursday, Crewe to Shrewsbury

Thursday, Shrewsbury to Crewe

Friday, Crewe to Shrewsbury

Friday, Shrewsbury to Crewe

Britannia was completed in January 1951, and built to haul express passenger services between London and Norwich, and in 1952 pulled the funeral train of King George VI from Sandringham in Norfolk, where the King died, to London.

After spending the first 10 years of its working life working in East Anglia, the loco was moved to north London in 1961 and then Crewe in 1963.

The locomotive was withdrawn from service in Newton Heath, Manchester, 1966, before being saved by preservationists.

It returned to steam at the Severn Valley Railway in 1978. After spells at preserved railways it hauled railtours on the main line between 1991 and 1997, before being withdrawn for overhaul.

It returned to the main line again in 2011 and the following year pulled the Royal Train, carrying Prince Charles, from Preston to Wakefield.

In one of her most important roles, Britannia hauled The Royal Train from Preston to Wakefield in January 2012.

Last year the loco was tested at the Severn Valley Railway following its most-recent overhaul, before pulling more test trains on the Crewe-Chester-Shrewsbury-Stafford-Crewe circuit.