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“Vintage trains, steam experience.....wonderful” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Vintage Trains

Vintage Trains
Ranked #80 of 275 things to do in Birmingham
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Formerly the Birmingham Railway Museum, this location is now a commercial enterprise called Tyseley Locomotive Works. This working steam railway yard is open to the public on specific open days and will thrill railroad buffs with its excellent collection of locomotives including the GWR "Castle" class, an LMS "Jubilee" class engine and three GWR Pannier tank locomotives.TLW is also the home to Vintage Trains steam excusrions and The Shakespeare Express. Vintage Trains run steam-hauled day excursions throughout the year, utilising it's own and guest steam locomotives.The Shakespeare Express (seperate trip-advisor) runs a scheduled steam hauled service from Birmingham to Stratford and return twice every summer Sunday.
Worcester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
87 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Vintage trains, steam experience.....wonderful”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 21, 2012 via mobile

Four of us went on the steam experience from Tysley to Oxford. We had breakfast on the train, had a few hours in Oxford, back on the train for a three course evening, silver service, meal. We had picked premier dinning and it did not disappoint at all. The staff worked so hard and were friendly and very obliging. The food was excellent, from the wonderful porridge with whiskey raisins, a super cooked breakfast, to endless tea and coffee, a wonderful evening meal, thick minestrone soup, roast beef and veg, followed by crumble and custard. We had ordered champagne which was iced and waiting for us when we got back on the train at Oxford. We loved that our table was beautifully laid, lovely table cloth and cloth napkins, fresh flowers on the table. We loved the whole experience and would certainly do it again. Last but not least the train was amazing. Well done everyone concerned with this labour of love, the excellent serving staff and the chef who fed us well, and everyone who worked to keep this beautiful engine doing its job. Amazing.

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4 Thank Jane B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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55 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Birmingham
Level Contributor
18 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Vintage Trains- York Excursion”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 12, 2012

This trip was bought for us by our family to celebrate our Ruby Wedding Anniversary. The trip was absolutely great. the staff were attentive nothing was too much trouble for them, the food was excellent, Breakfast and Dinner was served hot and fresh, tea and coffee was plentyful, our pre-ordered drinks were at the table for us on our return to the train. We really enjoyed our time on the train and in York. The whole trip was without flaw. Thank you so much for a great day we cant wait to book another trip.

Visited June 2012
Helpful?
Thank BerylandRon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BenVT, Director of Sales at Vintage Trains, responded to this review, December 10, 2012
Thank-you both. It was a pleasure to have you on our Summer trip to York. Please come back and visit us again soon - don't wait another 40 years!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Vintage Trains - GW Incursion”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 24, 2010

On 20/2/10 my wife and I were passengers on The Great Western Incursion railtour. I had booked this as a wedding anniversary present and had taken the option of travelling in the premier dining section with a table for two reservation. On the whole the itinerary and timing of the trip was without flaw. However the catering service we were subjected to was abysmal.

When we got underway we were served a pot of tea - it was tepid as the water had not been properly heated. My wife pointed this out to the stewardess and she managed to get some boiling water. It transpired that we were not the only ones to have this, in fact it was the whole carriage! Not the best of starts, then breakfast came, to start it was a choice of cereal or porridge - I opted for the porridge - they ran out, I changed my order to cereal as frankly I was very hungry by now and couldn’t wait forever. Then came the cooked breakfast - or to be correct the plates for breakfast, whilst we were stopped at Gloucester. Not far from Swindon breakfast finally arrived (we were going to Didcot); as a result of this some people didn't manage to get a cooked breakfast at all! Add to this the fact that although all the tables had salt and pepper cellars, on closer examination they were not only found to be empty but to have NEVER EVER carried such things inside them – obviously it was mere window dressing!

After going around the GW Soc. at Didcot we got back on the train thinking that after at least a three hour turn around all the problems would be sorted out and all would be well for the journey back with a nice meal to come.

How wrong we were. Firstly when we got on the train the onboard staff were still in the process of laying the tables (putting out cutlery, glasses, etc. and they were already having difficulty with the simplest of things like what fork goes where!) The menu said we would be having tea, coffee or another drink of our choice prior to dinner. The soup bowls arrived before Swindon and they had been warmed. Soup arrived 25mins later and that was served into now cold bowls! They then took a drinks order. By now some ‘premier dining carriages’ were close to mutiny.

We then get some plates for dinner and again 40mins later a bit of meat arrives to put on it, then after another 5mins a Yorkshire pudding, some virtually raw carrots, roast potatoes and what can best be described as a drop of gravy! I was so hungry by now the fact that there were no green beans or broccoli as per the menu was irrelevant – I was so hungry now that if raw horse-flesh had been put in front of me and I would have probably eaten it! After we had finished this the beans (and possibly broccoli) were discovered in the back of the oven – at least one carriage was offered beans, just not ours! Add to this the fact that no member of the Vintage Trains staff had noticed that it had got both dark and considerably colder and as a result we were left to sit around in meagre lighting in the coach and no heating, people took to wearing jackets and scarves to keep warm (this was rectified 5 minutes before arriving back at Tyseley)!

Some people left at Smethwick and Birmingham Snowhill without having desert or the opportunity of being asked to pay for any drinks they had bought. We are lucky and got desert - this time in a new record of 25mins between the plates being put out and the desert being served. However this time we were given the option of second helpings as there were now less people on the train than they had originally catered for and second time round with the custard they had yet again found hiding at the back of the oven!

It was obvious to even the most stupid person that the caterers were wildly understaffed and very few of them appeared to have any experience of catering beyond making a Pot Noodle! At no point did any member of Vintage Trains staff use any initiative to help alleviate this problem despite knowing full well that you do not require a food hygiene certificate to serve food - they made themselves very scarce, and on the rare occasion they did come into coach A (where we were seated) it was to ask obtuse questions about Smethwick Galton Bridge Station, and any complaints regarding the catering were dismissed with the excuse that they were using a new company – hardly the sort of thing that that is going to keep people fed and happy. So one can only deduce from this that they like the salt and pepper were only there for the ride!

Now for the crowning glory - They then have the cheek to ask for money for the drinks (which we were polite, or daft, enough to pay)! After this catalogue of ineptitude words fail me at this point! … And … the final tea and coffee, as per menu, also did not transpire, although the chef was heard to say he’d see how many people wanted to stay on board at the end for such refreshments – needless to say, by now the cold and tired customers were just eager to get home.

Another thing that Vintage Trains staff should have dealt with was the fact that in one of the coaches (carriage B we believe) was a customer who was quite clearly worse for drink and on the return journey spent a great deal of time making a nuisance of himself by wandering up and down the coaches harassing most of the catering staff. Now correct me if I am wrong but I always thought that it is a) Illegal to serve a drunk with alcohol and b) can't you get put off a train for being drunk and disorderly, as I have seen it done. Funnily enough there were no Vintage Trains staff around to deal with this so instead we, who had paid a good deal of money for this trip, were now subjected to bar-room barracking and harassment by this person on the way out, especially when the very same drunk was told not to try and smoke in the train.

I would say that on the whole the catering staff stayed remarkably cheerful, but heavens only know how. There were too few of them trying to serve food to too many at what would appear to have been too high a standard for their skills and abilities. Carriage B got served first on the outward journey, Carriage A first on the return (one assumes to even out who got the coldest food first and/or last) – heaven only knows when carriage C got their food (they were the other side of the kitchen and so we don’t know how they got on).

As you can imagine this spoiled our wedding anniversary celebrations, and what should have been a wonderful day out. Under the trades description act Vintage Trains must come very close to non-compliance since the menus we were served were not as advertised, either missing some components or others in full and therefore we all paid for a ‘service’ we did not receive. While Vintage Trains will argue that it was the caterers who let customers down, our contract was with Vintage Trains, not whatever catering company they chose to hire and that it was their responsibility to ensure they are fully briefed before tendering and certainly before letting them loose on paying customers!

We have no intention of wasting our money by using Vintage Trains on any future occasion.

Helpful?
12 Thank BristolRailRover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BenVT, Director of Sales at Vintage Trains, responded to this review, December 10, 2012
The Great Western Incursion in February 2010 was the first venture out for our (then) new catering company. We will be the first to admit that all did not go to plan with the dining!

Shortly thereafter all the kinks were worked out. More recent reviews typify the Dining service we strive to provide.

We have invited this reviewer on several occasions to travel with us again, but they have yet to take us up on our offer.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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