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Sparks Flew on Chiltern Railways

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Earl of Mount Edgcumbe - No. 5043

Those Chiltern Railways customers using Haddenham & Thame Station got a bit of a surprise on Saturday morning when "the next train on Platform 2" definitely did NOT stop here!

The Great Western Railway (GWR) Castle Class steam locomotive Earl of Mount Edgcumbe (no 5043) powered through Haddenham at 11:15 on a nostalgic run from Birmingham Moor Street through to London Marylebone. The train consisting of the GWR locomotive, a water carriage (the first apparent 'coach' on the photograph) and 7 passenger coaches left former GWR station at Birmingham Moor Street (refurbished by Chiltern Railways) and arrived at Chiltern's London Marylebone terminal just over two hours later on a non-stop run.

The train belongs to Vintage Trains, a Tyseley based charity which operates steam specials on a regular basis between Birmingham Moor Street and Stratford on Sunday mornings throughout the summer months. Details of its operations, included discounted Chiltern Railways tickets, can be found on the Vintage Trains' website

It has been almost 60 years since the last public non-stop steam express train ran from Birmingham to London. Ironically, at one point along the journey the steam train had to be slowed a little when it began to catch up with a modern scheduled service, but the journey still managed to achieve its non-stop billing and completed the journey just over two hours.

The only hiccup? The railway line had to be closed to regular trains for about two hours after the journey had been completed, while three or four trackside fires ignited by sparks from the steam train were extinguished. A romantic time, perhaps, but the age of steam was not without its problems!

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