• Ride behind Stephenson’s famous Rocket from the 1800s

  • See George and Robert Stephenson, the heroic steam engineers

  • View the visiting classic cars and buses

  • Jubilee No 5596 Bahamas in steam along with Clun Castle

  • Miniature railway in operation

  • Shuttle trains running between Birmingham Moor Street and Dorridge

  • Launch of the Pioneer Inter City Train

  • Special steaming of The Smethwick Engine at ThinkTank

  • Pre-booked vintage and classic cars receive free entry to the event

Vintage Trains and Tyseley Locomotive Works are proud to present the first of two 2019 open weekends on June 22nd and 23rd.

Rocket comes to Birmingham – in steam – with its designer

The major highlight of the weekend will be the opportunity to ride behind the official replica of Stephenson’s famous Rocket in a replica third class coach from the 1800’s. Rocket was the most advanced steam locomotive of its day. It was built for the The Rainhill Trials in October 1829 to test George Stephenson's argument that locomotives would provide the best motive power for the then nearly-completed Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Five locomotives were entered, Stephenson's Rocket was the only locomotive to complete the trials and was declared the winner. It is the most famous example of an evolving design that became the template for most steam locomotives in the following 150 years. Rocket is rarely seen away from its museum base and comes by courtesy of the National Railway Museum.

Rocket will be accompanied by its designer Robert Stephenson; his father George Stephenson, the father of railways and the famous engineer of the Great Western Railway, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Shuttle trains between Birmingham and Dorridge

Subject to official confirmation, Vintage Trains plans to operate four return mainline trains as a shuttle service to Tyseley station for both open days using either 4965 Rood Ashton Hall or 7029 Clun Castle plus VT’s Class 47 heritage diesel locomotive in top and tail mode. They will run between Birmingham Moor Street and Dorridge, calling at Solihull and Tyseley. Standard class tickets are priced at £5 each way for a journey from Dorridge or Moor Street to Tyseley. The full round trip will cost £20.   Riding in Pullman class will cost £7.50 and £30 respectively. Further information and tickets are available at

Something for the whole family – ‘Draw the Rocket’ competition

The event is designed to appeal to the whole family with five locomotives in steam - Rocket, 7029 Clun Castle, 4965 Rood Ashton Hall, 45596 Bahamas and GWR Pannier tank 7752 - one running a site shuttle train service alongside Rocket.  Classic buses and cars will be on display and a ride-on miniature railway will be in operation.

Children are encouraged to enter the ‘Draw the Rocket’ competition. Using any medium – paint, coloured pencils or crayon – Rocket drawings should be brought along to the open day and will be judged at 15.00 each day, the winner receiving free family entry to the September Tyseley Open Weekend.

Catering will include a hog roast, liquid refreshments and ice cream.

Launch of the Pioneer Inter City Train

On the Saturday, Vintage Trains and Tyseley Locomotive Works will formally announce a project to build a reproduction of the Pioneer Inter City Train, including the fastest standard gauge express steam locomotive of its time. Nicknamed Bloomer, it was originally built in 1850 as a revolutionary design to haul the new London and Birmingham Railway’s express trains to London in only two hours.  By coincidence, Rocket’s designer Robert Stephenson was also appointed Chief Engineer of the L&BR.

Vintage Trains, with Tyseley Locomotive Works, has all the elements of an historic locomotive depot and railway community with geographical importance, direct routes, workshop facilities and maintenance, repair and restoration skills to operate express steam trains. It is also in a unique position to collaborate with HS2 and Birmingham’s Curzon Street development, demonstrating the complete evolution of the steam engine and Britain’s national railway network.

Birmingham was known worldwide as the “Workshop of the World” and the Pioneer Inter City Train will help to tell the story of Birmingham’s importance in the development of steam engines and the role Britain played in transforming the world through railway engineering.

Special steaming of The Smethwick Engine

Over the open weekend, Thinktank (Birmingham Science Museum) adjacent to Curzon Street station, will be steaming The Smethwick Engine, the oldest working steam engine in the world. Separate admission applies with discount for open weekend/shuttle train customers.


Open Weekend Admission Prices and Opening Times  

In Advance                                         On The Day

Adult                                                                 £15                                                         £17

Young person (5-16 yrs)                                £4                                                           £5

Family (2 adults/2 children)                        £30                                                         £35

The site opens at 10.00 on both days with last admission at 16.00. The event closes at 17.00 on both days.

There is no parking on site so visitors are encouraged to park at local stations and use the Open Day shuttles or other rail and bus services.

A limited number of disabled parking spaces will be available on site but these must be booked via

Vintage and pre-September 1980 classic cars receive free entry to the event but must pre-book online via