The cruel hand of fate descended on Tyseley Locomotive Works and the Vintage Trains operation earlier this year. Just as the magnificently restored no 7029 Clun Castle was ready for the mainline, alongside classmate no 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe which is nearing the end ofnits main line ticket, the West Coast Railway Company declared it could no longer provide drivers for Vintage Trains mainline operations. Were we to lose the opportunity of these two beautiful machines running together on the main line?
Undeterred, the powers that be at Tyseley pushed ahead with their ambitious plan to form a Community Interest Company to further its many ambitions in railway preservation and operation. Chief amonst the objectives was to become a Train Operating Company which would be self-sufficient in operating on the mainline.
Nearly a million pounds was raised in just a few months, with hundreds of members of the public becoming shareholders to support these bold objectives. The company hopes to begin mainline operations towards the end of the summer.
Meanwhile these two beasts are caged within the confines of Tyseley, with only occasional opportunies to be seen by their admiring public.
One such was the open weekend on 30 June / 1 July. Martin Creese of 30742 Charters secured the chance of an exclusive photoshoot on the Friday evening, when the sun shone strongly from a cloudless sky to show these very special engines at their best, along with some of their shedmates.
Many thanks to all at Tyseley, and to Martin, for enabling us to contribute further to the new company's coffers, and enjoy a wonderful eveing in the sun with these iconic locomotives.
© Peter Hewitt's Transport Pictures