GWR Offers Home to Great Western Thoroughbred
01 February 2004
The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway will become 'home' to a
former British Railways locomotive that has just returned to steam
after an overhaul lasting nearly 25 years.
The locomotive - number 7903 Foremarke Hall - was one of the
last batch of Great Western 'Modified Hall' class engines built at
Swindon Works. Although every inch a Great Western thoroughbred,
the engine was completed by British Railways in 1949.
It is expected to arrive at Toddington in April.
The Modified Hall class were know as 'greyhounds' because of
their reputation for fast running. No 7903 distinguished itself in
1951 when, hauling a boat train from London to Plymouth, became the
first locomotive to cover the distance in less than four hours.
Foremarke Hall is owned by a group of enthusiasts who formed the
Foremarke Hall Transport Group and in 1981, bought the engine from
a scrap yard in South Wales. They moved it close to its place of
birth at Blunsdon, on the Swindon & Cricklade Railway and, over
the years, have painstakingly restored the engine to its former
glory. In September 2003 it steamed for the first time since
withdrawal from British Railways in 1964.
Says Jim Clarke, Chairman of the owning group: "Although the
Swindon & Cricklade railway have kindly hosted us all these
years, at present the line is only one mile long. So we have been
looking for a railway that would enable no. 7903 to 'stretch its
legs' and the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway was an obvious
"Our view is that the GWR is a line that is really going places
and its two recent major award wins prove that. And it's not too
far for our own volunteers to come to see their handiwork in
Ian Crowder, the GWR's commercial director, says: "We're
thrilled the owners of Foremarke Hall have chosen our line as their
home. We expect the engine to become the mainstay of our 2004
services and we're sure it will be popular amongst visitors.
"Our own resident Hall class engine, Raveningham Hall, has just
been withdrawn for a major overhaul. We expect the newcomer to
arrive by road during April and it will star in our Spring Gala,
over the weekend of 7th, 8th and 9th May.
further details of the locomotive, click here and select