Updated 15 March

Once again the organisers of the Cotswold Festival of Steam are putting on a show to remember whether you're an enthusiast looking for
unusual opportunites to see locomotives off their home 'patch' or whether you're family looking for a day packed with interest.  

On a previous visit to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, 1450 is sandwiched between two auto trailers as it crosses Stanway Viaduct.  The locomotive will once again be plying the northern extension but with maroon auto-trailer no. W238 (Photo: Jack Boskett)

Newly repainted no 53808 making a welcome return to the GWSR

USATC S160 class 2-8-0 built in 1945 by Baldwin of Philadelphia at its new British home, the Churnet Valley Railway in Staffordshire (Picture: Ray O'Hara)

GW heavyweight freight locomotive no. 2807 trots along the straight at Far Stanley on 27 December 2016 (Jack Boskett)

GW 2-8-0T no. 4270 heads away from Laverton on 12 May 2015 (Malcolm Ranieri)

Merchant Navy pacific 35006 Peninsular & Oriental SN Co at Toddington (Ian Crowder)

BR(W) Modified Hall no. 7903 Foremarke Hall on Stanway Viaduct, October 2013 (Dan Wigg)

BR (W) Manor 4-6-0 no. 7820 Dinmore Manor heads away from Winchcombe round Chicken curve with a demonstration freight, 16 October 2014 (Jack Boskett)

This year's theme is ''Workhorses of Steam' and it's a celebration of the locomotives that didn't necessarily hit the headlines - they were the freight and 'mixed traffic' engines that kept the nation's economy going.  They shifted minerals, freight, parcels, produce, milk up and down the country.  They shunted in yards, sorting out wagons for destinations far and wide. They deliverd parcels and the mail and yes, they handled passenger trains too.

Britain boasted thousands of steam locomotives of hundreds of different designs and the railway is expecting to run eight during the three day event: its home fleet bolstered by at least three visitors from other heritage railways.  

As this summary updated, three visitors have so far been confirmed:

  • Firstly, no 53808 from the West Somerset Railway. 

  • Secondly, an engine that is quite unlike the clean lines of most British designs: an American S160 class 2-8-0 no. 6046, courtesy of Greg Wilson and the Churnet Valley Railway

  • Thirdly, a welcome return to the railway of 14xx class 0-4-2T no. 1450 with auto trailer no W238; the architypal Great Western branch-line 'workhorse' and a class that ran local train services between Cheltenham and Honeybourne until 1960

  • Fourthly - to be announced!


Locomotives in order of age - visitors:

Fowler 7F class 2-8-0 no. 53808, built 1925 by R Stephenson& Co (Courtesy of the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust and the West Somerset Railway)

Making a welcome return to the GWSR from the West Somerset Railway is the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway, Fowler 7F class.


Collet 14xx class 0-4-2T no. 1450, built 1935 and auto-trailer no. W238 (Courtesy of Push-Pull Ltd and the Severn Valley Railway)

A class of locomotive very much associated with branch line and local passenger traffic, the 14xx class (on introduction they were numbered in the 4800 series) totalled 75 locomotives built at Swindon between 1932 and 1936.  The basic design however, dates back to 1868 with George Armstrong's 517 class. The 14xx class was associated with the Cheltenham to Honeybourne service and 1450, with its auto trailer, no. W238, will bring back memories for those who recall what was termed  the 'Coffee Pot' that ceased when the stations closed in 1960 (and after which the Coffee Pot cafe on Winchcombe station is named).  1450, owned by Mike Little and operated by Push-Pull Ltd, was for a long time a resident on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway and has made a few visits to the line since - so this is a welcome return.  During the Festival, 1450 will be working a shuttle service with its auto-trailer from Toddington, over the viaduct towards Brodway, at least as far as Laverton and possibly on to Little Buckland (to be confirmed).  1450 never worked over 'our' line but spent its working life mainly based at Oxford and latterly Exmouth Junction before being retired in 1965. It is the only one of the four preserved examples currently operational.


USATC S160 class 2-8-0 no. 6046, built by Baldwin, Philadelphia in 1945 (Courtesy Greg Wilson and the Churnet Valley Railway)

The S160s were an austerity deign constructed in their thousands by US locomotive builders designed for heavy freight work in Europe during the Second World War. Designed by Major J W Marsh and based on a much earlier design, the locomotives were inteded to be quickly and easily built, simple and reliable to operate and were not expected to last long.  800 of them were shipped to Britain following a 'lease-lend' agreement between US President Rooseveldt and Prime Minister Churchill, to be stockpiled ready for the D-Day invasion of France in 1944. However, many found short term service on British railways, the Great Western being the largest adopter with 174 pressed into service and they worked over the route of what is now the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway.  No. 6046 wasn't one of the British contingent, but was shipped direct to France and, after the war went into service with Hungarian State Railways.  6046 was rescued after ending a career in industrial use and imported, intially to Tyseley and then moved as a 'kit of parts' to the Churnet Valley Railway in 2006, steaming on British metals for the first time in 2012. This American invader - as unlike the sleek British locomotive designs as one could imagine - will certainly create a stir in the Cotswold landscape but perfectly fits the 'Workhorses of Steam' theme of the Festival. You can find out more about this remarkable class by visiting our feature pages.

One more visitor to be confirmed.

Locomotives in order of age - residents:

Churchward 2800 class 2-8-0 no. 2807, built 1905

This is the oldest Great Western Railway locomotive in working order, having been built in 1905: No. 2807 was a fine example of G J Churchward's engineering design excellence.  It was the first 2-8-0 class to enter service in the UK and for many decades was the most powerful freight locomotive type in Britain.  So successful were they that many of the class survived to the end of steam on the Western Region of British Railways in the 1960s. This fine 'heavyweight champion' re-entered service in 2010 and has been a regular and popular performer on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire railway since.  It was restored mainly at Toddington - in fact, it was the first steam locomotive to arrive at the embryonic Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway in 1982.

Churchward 4200 class 2-8-0T no. 4270, built 1919 

This locomotive which spent its entire working life in South Wales handling mineral traffic.  Essentially, it is a tank locomotive version of the 2800 class and in fact, was the only 2-8-0 tank locomotives to run in the UK.  The majority were used to handle coal and other mineral traffic, primarily in South Wales, where high power was needed to convey mineral traffic over relatively short distances and over often steeply-graded routes.  It is a pleasingly attractive engine that returned to steam for the first time since wethdrawal from Britsish Railways in 1962 just in time for the 2014 Cotswold Festival of Steam. The locomotive has been subject to an extremely comprehensive restoration both at Toddington and off-site.

Bulleid Merchant Navy class 4-6-2 no. 35006 Peninsular & Oriental SN Co  

The powerful Merchant Navy class are particularly associated with the heaviest express passenger services on the Southern Railway's routes from Waterloo to Bournemouth and to the West Country.  Despite this, the class of 30 locomotives were ostensibly mixed traffic designs introduced by O V S Bulleid to a highly unconventional design, the first appearing from Eastleigh works in June 1941 looking quite unlike any other British steam locomotive, with an 'air-smoothed' boiler casing and incorporating many new features not least of which, was chain-driven valve gear for the middle of the three cylinders enclosed in an oilbath - intended to reduce routine maintenance.  Although the engines were extremely capable, the design was let down by some of the innovative features.  As a result, the entire class were rebuilt to conventional appearance during the late 1950s, as 35006 is now presented.  In fact, 35006 was 'modified' in October 1959, the last to be so treated. 35006 was withdrawn from service in August 1964 having spent its entire working life allocated to Salisbury shed, working the heavy West of England expresses.  It was the second locomotive to arrive at Toddington, from the scrapyard at Barry, South Wales, in 1983.  It moved for the first time in preservation on 10 August 2015 and is a hugely popular locomotive on the railway now. You can find out more about the Merchant Navy class on our feature pages.

Modified Hall class 4-6-0 no. 7903 Foremarke Hall 

The Great Western Railway's standard mixed traffic loicomotives were the numberous Hall class 4-6-0s introduced in 1924 by C B Collett as a development of Churchward's 'Saint' class and have many similaritiwes .  The Halls were extremely successful, economical and versatile - as at home with fast freight as they were with express passenger trains.  When F W Hawksworth became chief mechanical engineer at Swindon in 1941, he set about making a number of design changes to the Hall class, the result being the 'Modified Hall' which was introduced in 1944.  Production contiunued until 1950 after nationalisation of the railways.  Foremarke Hall was completed in 1949.  Restored to working order in 2004, this popular locomotive has proved to be an extremely reliable performer over ten years before its '10 year' overhaul, re-entering service just in time for last year's cotswold Festival of Steam.

Collett Manor class 4-6-0  7820 Dinmore Manor, built 1950

The Manor class is a smaller version of the earlier 'Grange' class designed by C B Collett and introduced in 1938.  The Second World War interrupted production of the class, which resumed in 1950 after the Great Western Railway had been nationalised to become the Western Region of British Railways. With a ligher axle loading the 30 'Manors' were very much at home handling freight as well as passenger trains and were particularly associated with secondary main lines such as the Cambrian route to the west coast of Wales.  Indeed, the class famously handled the 'Cambrian Coast Express' which started from Paddington usually behind a 'Castle' class locomotive, the 'Manor' taking over from Shrewsbury. No. 7820 was the first post-war member of the class.