Welcome to the Friends of Vintage Trains


5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe on the Shakespeare Express

Welcome to the web site for The Friends of Vintage Trains, the volunteer support organisation for Vintage Trains. Members of The Friends of Vintage Trains offer support in many ways, including a range of volunteering opportunities on the Tyseley Locomotive Works site, on the trains and becoming involved in the running of the Friends. Members who are unable to become involved in the volunteering opportunities can rest assured that all of the funds raised by The Friends of Vintage Trains are donated to restoration projects and to support the activities of the Friends.

The Friends also offer a range of member benefits, including the Steam in Trust magazine, social events and concessionary admission to the Tyseley Locomotive Works Open Days. Please follow the links on the right of this page or below for more information about the Friends and ways to get involved.

Clun Castle following restoration at Tyseley

The Friends 2022 calendar is now available, and copies can be ordered directly from this website. As for the 2021 calendar, the 2022 calendar is A4 month-to-a-page, spiral bound on the short edge. Each page of the calendar has a Vintage Trains related image with a description of the featured locomotive and/or the event being celebrated alongside an interesting historical snippet looking back at some event in that month. More details, and the order form, are on the Friends calendar and greetings card page. The set of 5 greetings cards continue to be popular; details and the order form are also available on the Friends calendar and greetings card page

As we emerge from the COVID restrictions we are pleased to announce our next social afternoon on Saturday October 16th 2021. This will be free to all members and a guest, including a complimentary buffet. Our guest speaker is John Perkin, who is well known in railway circles for his enlightening and enjoyable talks. The theme for this talk is RAILS THROUGH BIRMINGHAM, a photographic journey through the City of Birmingham in the days of steam.

The Friends’ Committee have continued to be active during the current Covid-19 restrictions. Highlights of current activities, with a link in each case to more details, include:

  • The volunteer Archivist for Vintage Trains has kindly agreed to provide articles based on items in the Tyseley archives that will, we hope, be of interest to all members of the Friends. These will be added to on an approximately monthly basis and can be found on our publications page. The October 2021 feature is an article on VT’s GWR Goods Brake Van  & Goods Guard duties (PDF, 2942 KB).
  • The Friends survey inviting all members to give feedback on the Friends’ activities and aims in order to better meet the needs of our members has now closed. We thank all who gave us feedback on the Friends and will be analysing the results over the coming weeks to improve our offerings to members.
  • The Spring 2021 edition of Steam in Trust is now available from the publications page. Steam in Trust is the Friends’ flagship publication, circulated in printed copy to all members 3 or 4 times a year- the on-line copy of Steam in Trust is made available on this site approximately a month after the printed copies have been circulated, although reading on-line or printing the PDF cannot reflect the quality of the printed publication. If you are not a member of the Friends please have a look at this and consider if receiving a high-quality printed copy, and other benefits, would warrant the modest membership fee.
  • A donation of £10,000 from Friends’ funds has been made towards the restoration of one of the Pullman Parlour Cars or a similar coach; these funds were a significant contribution towards the return of First Class Kitchen Car 311 “Eagle” to main-line service.
  • The Friends have funded a replacement sign for Tyseley Locomotive works, to highlight the site and Vintage Trains to traffic on the Warwick Road. The project, with photographs, is described on the Tyseley Locomotive Works sign page.
  • The Friends have committed a contribution of £500 towards the return of 3 sets of Class 144 Pacers, which have now arrived at Tyseley, to mainline service as part of the VT tour programme

Please revisit this page for updates on these, and other, events for the Friends.

The Friends of Vintage Trains is affiliated to the Birmingham Heritage Forum; Forum membership is drawn from organisations concerned with collections, historic sites, museums, galleries, churches, gardens and visitor services within the Birmingham area.

This page was last updated on 2 October 2021