Birthday girl celebrates Centenary on Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway - and a 70th birthday too!

  • Locomotive 4270 built at Swindon in 1919 

  • Locomotive 7903 ‘Foremarke Hall’ reaches 70 - and both still going strong

  • Engines to carry special birthday headboards over the weekend of 14th and 15th September


Toddington, 8 September 2019: Two steam locomotives on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) are celebrating birthdays over the weekend of 14th and 15th September. Both were ‘born’ at the Great Western Railway’s works at Swindon in Wiltshire - locomotive 4270 having reached its Centenary while 7903 was built after nationalisation of the railways, in 1949.

Centenarian Chruchward 2-8-0T no. 4270 makes good progress near Stanway (Malcolm Ranieri)

Modified Hall class 4-6-0 no. 7903 Foremarke Hall is 70 years old this year (Malcolm Ranieri)

No. 4270 - which doesn’t have a name - was one of 105 powerful tank locomotives designed by G J Chuchward and introduced in 1910.  They were the only British tank locomotives with the 2-8-0 wheel arrangement and were designed to handle heavy mineral traffic over relatively short distances and most, including 4270, which was completed in 1919, were put to work handling coal trains weighing up to 1,000 tons from the South Wales mines to the ports.  So successful were they that many lasted until the end of Western Region steam in the mid-1960s


After being withdrawn in 1962, no. 4270 was consigned to the infamous Woodhams scrapyard at Barry in South Wales, leaving for restoration in 1985.  The engine is now a regular performer on the GWSR’s picturesque 14-mile line between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway.  It has also visited a number of other heritage railways.  The engine is one of just five of the class to have survived.


No. 7903 Foremarke Hall is a ‘Modified Hall’-class mixed traffic locomotive which was introduced by the Great Western Railway’s final Chief Mechanical Engineer, FW Hawksworth in 1944, as a development of the earlier and successful ‘Hall’ class designed by CB Collett.  Although the two classes looked much the same, the modifications introduced by Hawksworth produced a highly efficient design capable of handling everything from freight to fast express trains.  In all 71 were built, the last few by British Railways following nationalisation, between 1948 and 1950.  Seven of the class survive, no. 7903 Foremarke Hall being the youngest.


The engine spent most of its life allocated to Old Oak Common and working trains out of London Paddington - on one occasion, handling a boat-train from Plymouth to Paddington and for the first time, completing the journey in less than four hours. 


This year, Foremarke Hall celebrates its 70th birthday.  It was withdrawn from British Railways’ service in 1964 has been located on the GWSR since it was rescued from Barry Scrapyard in South Wales in 1981 and restored on the Swindon & Cricklade Railway.  After successful testing it then moved to the GWSR, arriving in 2004 since when it has distinguished itself as a popular and reliable locomotive on the Cotswolds line.


Over the weekend of 14th and 15th September both engines will carry distinctive headboards marking their ‘birthdays’ and those who have helped to fund and restoration this outstanding locomotives will be invited to enjoy a day travelling behind ’their’ locomotives.  The railway will be running its Red timetable that day and of course everyone is invited to celebrate their respective birthdays too.




More information from Ian Crowder, 07775 566 555 or 


Members of the media are welcome to attend - please let Ian Crowder know if you would like to come and if you wish to travel.