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 purely volunteer run 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, the Sutton Miniature Railway Project, 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 and newsletter, 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.

The Friends membership of the Birmingham Heritage Forum, whose members are organisations concerned with collections, historic sites, museums, galleries, churches, gardens and visitor services within the Birmingham area, continues to give more visibility to the Friends and Vintage Trains.

Clun Castle following restoration at Tyseley

Recent highlights, with a link in each case to more details, include:

    • We are pleased to announced a visit to the Severn Valley Railway (SVR) Diesel Depot on Wednesday 22 May 2024. Numbers for this visit are strictly limited to 20 so, on this occasion, members will not be able to bring a guest. More details and an Expression of Interest form can be found here. Details of all of our socials can be found on our socials page.
    • We are also having a return visit to  the Kidderminster Railway Museum on Wednesday 9 October. Our speakers will be Anthony Coulls, a senior curator at the National Railway Museum, and Fraser Pithie, chair of the Friends of the Shakespeare Line and one of only 500 recipients of the Coronation Champion award for his work in the community, which is award by The Royal Voluntary Service (RVS). There will be no charge for members plus a guest. Please indicate your interest to Neil Ewart by email to neilewart88@gmail.com or call 07805 817711.
    • We have two more turn-up-and-go trips planned. For these trips there is no need to book; just turn up at the meeting point where you will find  some members ready to go. Everyone, members and non-members alike, are welcome on these trips; the more the merrier. Note that all costs such as train fares, refreshment and any entrance fees are the responsibility of the individual. We have planned:
      • a visit to the Llangollen branch line gala on Saturday 13 April. We will be leaving Birmingham New St at 09.22 for the direct train to Ruabon where we catch a bus to Llangollen. A senior rover ticket on the Llangollen will be £27. This will probably be a popular event so we suggest booking in advance.
      • a trip to Aberystwyth on Thursday 6 June. We will be catching the through train from Birmingham to Aberystwyth which departs from Birmingham International at 09.08 and New Street at 09.22. This train is often busy so it can be worth travelling to Birmingham International to secure a group of seats. An anytime day return from New Street costs £26.65 for railcard holders. We arrive in Aberystwyth at 12.20 for an optional ride on the Vale of Rheidol Railway (£35.00 return) where we can view GWR 9017 Earl of Berkeley Dukedog Class back in its home shed, or alternatively spend the day exploring Aberystwyth. We will probably meet back at the Wetherspoons on Aberystwyth mainline station before returning to Birmingham.
    • All members were invited to the 2024 Annual General Meeting which was held on Sunday 24 March 2024 at the Tyseley Working Men’s Club. More details can be found here.
    • Our recent social at the Severn Valley Railway (SVR) Railway Museum at Kidderminster on Wednesday 28 February 2024 attracted over 50 members. Our guest speaker was Mike Corbett who was engaged by the National Railway Museum as project manager for the period of final restoration of Flying Scotsman to operational service in early 2016. The afternoon featured an audience with Les Ross, Ray Churchill and Ray Poole. More details can be found on our socials page.
    • Don’t forget that our 2024 calendar is still available, with superb images of a variety of motive power through the ages, historic stations and info snippets for each month. Follow this link for more details, including an order form.
    • A low-resolution copy of the Autumn 2023 edition (Issue 53)  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 twice a year- the low-resolution 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. Steam in Trust Issue 53 has an article by Rob Ferris Historical Usage Of Open Wagons and Covered Vans Part 1 where the references were omitted due to space constraints. These references can be found here.
    • Thanks to Geoff Middleton and Peter Jeffs, the 23 February 2024 Stock and In the Workshop lists are now available.
    • Chris Schroeder has contributed a video that he took of a VT run up the Lickey on 14 October 2001 with a pannier banking. The video quality is not the best but the sound is very good.
      This video  was filmed in 2001 and you will notice that there were many heads and shoulders leaning out of the door droplight windows of the coaches. Back in the early days of the 21st century when this video was shot the ‘Do not lean out of the window or open this door when the train is moving’ notices on every door were often ignored, especially on steam hauled excursions.
      You will not see any heads leaning out of windows on today’s excursions. The Office of Rail Regulation has put in place specific rules for mainline excursions using carriages which have doors with opening windows prohibiting passengers leaning out of opening windows or standing in coach end vestibules near to doors. These rules are strictly enforced by Train Operating Companies such as Vintage Trains Ltd.
    • 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 can be found on our publications page.

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

We at the Friends of Vintage Trains take your privacy very seriously. We will store your data securely and will not distribute, for profit or otherwise, your personal details outside the Friends of Vintage Trains. Our full Privacy Statement can be seen here.

This page was last updated on 31 March 2024