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Steam train fit for a King to visit Leicester

A historic 74-year-old steam loco once driven by the King will haul a special train from Leicester to Stratford-upon Avon for the first time this summer.

Clun Castle, built at Swindon in 1950, used to pull express trains on British Rail’s Western Region before the switch to diesel.

Leicester Time: Steam train fit for a King to visit Leicester

Picture: Shakespeare Express

It was the last of its type to be withdrawn from service, operating the final steam-hauled train from London Paddington on November 17, 1965.

But instead of being sent to a scrapyard to be turned into pots and pans, the locomotive was bought by enthusiasts for £2,400 and carefully restored.  

Now the gleaming green Clun Castle, number 7029, is coming to Leicester on Sunday, July 14, to haul the special “Shakespeare Express” train.

Passengers will be able to tuck into a slap-up English breakfast during the two and a half-hour journey to Stratford.

A spokesman said: “We won’t just be taking them to Warwickshire, we will also be transporting them back to the glorious days of steam during the 1950s.

“But we would advise people to book early if they don’t want to miss the train, for it’s likely to be a sell-out.

“Clun Castle was one of the finest steam engines on British Rail’s Western Region, hauling crack express trains and regularly reaching almost 100mph.

“It once broke the record for the fastest trip between Plymouth and Bristol.”

King Charles, while still Prince of Wales, took the controls as he travelled on the locomotive’s footplate  from Birmingham’s Snow Hill to Tyseley in 1988 to mark the 150th anniversary of the London & Birmingham Railway.

More than 300 passengers are expected to travel on the “Shakespeare Express”. Fares start at £45. For more information see: