Updated 16 April
Once again the organisers of the Cotswold Festival of Steam are putting on a fantastic 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.
Britannia class pacific no. 70013 Oliver Cromwell puts up a fine winter display at Swithland Sidings on the Great Central Railway (Malcolm Ranieri)
Collett 4-6-0, 6023, King Edward II will be making it's debut at the GWSR for the 2018 "Give My Regards to Broadway" gala (Ray O'Hara)
USATC S160 class 2-8-0 no. 5197 on its home Churnet Valley Railway - There'll be an American 'giving my regards to Broadway...' (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)
On the 2ft gauge North Gloucestershire Narrow Gauge Railway you can expect to see at least two locomotives in steam. One of the line's available locomotives is this delightful Hunslet 0-4-2 no. 2075 of 1940 (Malcolm Ranieri)
This year's theme is ''Give My Regards to Broadway"' and it's a celebration of the much anticipated re-opening of Broadway Station to passengers for the first time since 1960. Britain boasted thousands of steam locomotives of hundreds of different designs and the railway is expecting to run eight on each day of the three day event: its home fleet bolstered by up to four visitors from other heritage railways.
We are delighted confirm our visitor line-up to date:
Collett King class 4-6-0, 6023, King Edward II with kind permission of the Great Western Society, will be visiting for the first time, in fact this is believed to be the first-ever visit to the line by a member of this class.
USATC S160 class 2-8-0 no. 5197 with kind permission of Batt Holden Lrtd and the Churnet Valley Railway - a class that ran over this line during the latter end of the Second World War. A sister locomotive ran for a short time on the GWSR some years ago
Riddles BR Standard 7MT 'Britannia' class 4-6-2 no. 70013 Oliver Cromwell with kind permission of the National Railway Museum and 5305 Locomotive Association
The Gala Committee expects to announce one further visiting locomotive shortly
Locomotives in order of age - visitors:
Collet 4-6-0, 6023, King Edward II, built 1930 (Courtesy of The Great Western Society)
The King class locomotives were the pinnacle of the Great Western Railway's four cylinder 4-6-0 locomotive development. The genesis of the design started with Churchward's Star class, first introduced in 1907 for express passenger trains to and from London Paddington to the West Country and the West Midlands. When Collett succeeded Churchward as the GWR's Chief Mechanical Engineer in 1922, he first modified the design to come up with his Castle class of locomotives and further enhanced it again with the 30 strong King class, introduced in 1927. 6023 entered service in June 1930, and was initially allocated to Newton Abbot, followed by periods of time at Plymouth (Laira), Old Oak Common and Cardiff Canton, from where it was withdrawn in June 1962 having covered 1,554,201 miles, Via a circuitous route, 6023 was eventually sold to the legendary Barry scrap yard, from where she was ultimately saved and restored. The restoration was more difficult than most as one of the sets of driving wheels had been cut through after a shunting accident at Barry, so one of the first restoration tasks was to take on the job of casting new wheels.
United States Army Transportation Corps (USATC) class S160 no. 5197, built 1944 (Courtesy Batt Holden Ltd and the Churnet Valley Railway)
After the Americans joined in the Second World War their influence was soopn widely felt in the UK. It wasn't just servicemen, aircraft and vehicles that became a familiar sight in these islands - very American steam locomotive, in the shape of USATC S160 class 2-8-0s could also be found on British railways - their comparative vulgarity contrasting starkly with the generally graceful lines of British desings. Over 2,000 of these austerity locomotives were built of which about 800 found their way to the UK, many of them being pressed into service for a short time here, before being transferred into Europe following the D-Day landings. The locomotive visting the GWSR for the 2018 Cotswold Festival of Steam is no. 5197, which never ran in the UK but was delivered straight to China from the builder, Lima, arriving in 1945. Carrying the identity KD6.463 it spent its entire life working traffic around the Fushun coalfields until being withdrawn in the early 1990s.
It was saved from scrap by Derek Foster in 1995, who then brought it to Britain where it was based at the Llangollen Railway. After an overhaul at Llangollen it returned to traffic in 1998 but in 2001, it was sold to Greg Wilson who moved it to the Churnet Valley Railway (CVR). In 2009 the locomotive was withdrawn for overhaul following expiry of its ten-year boiler 'ticket', re-entering service on the CVR in 2017. The GWSR is very grateful to the owning company. Those attending the Cotswold Festival of Steam last year may remember that sister locomotive no. 6046 was due to visit but failed just before the event, underlinging the caveat 'subject to availability' that applies to all locotives scheduled to appear. You can see a feature about these interesting machines.
British Railways 7MT 'Britannia' class 4-6-2 no. 70013 Oliver Cromwell, built 1951 (Courtesy 5305 Locomotive Association and the National Railway Museum)
Celebrity class 7MT pacific no. 70013 Oliver Cromwell will join the locomotive line-up for the Cotswold Festival of Steam. 70013 is a member of the 55-strong ‘Britannias’ which were constructed at Crewe between 1951 and 1954. The class was dispersed across the UK and were particularly associated with the London Liverpool Street – Norwich expresses. The ‘Britannias’ were also associated with the final express services to work over what is now the GWSR – the summer Saturdays-Only holiday expresses between the West Country and Wolverhampton and the only Pacifics ever to work regular through services over the route. The final such ‘Britannia’ hauled train was the penultimate steam service, the 10.05 Kingswear-Wolverhapton, behind no. 70045 Lord Rowallan, on 4 September 1965. The final service was specially requested to be hauled by Castle class no. 7029 Clun Castle, passing over the route a couple of hours later. No. 70013, built in 1951, was the last steam locomotive to be overhauled at Crewe works, in 1967 – one of six of the class to be so treated during the eleventh hour of steam on BR. It was selected to be saved for the National Collection because it was in far better condition than the prototype, no. 70000 Britannia which was instead privately purchased from British Railways. It is now 50 years since the end of BR steam and 70013 will forever be associated with the BR-operated ‘Fifteen Guinea Specials’ on 11 August 1968 marking the end of steam on the national network. Earlier this year 70013 undertook its final main-line run in preservation before being withdrawn for overhaul. However a boiler inspection has given the locomotive a clean bill of health for the next nine months and we are delighted that 70013 will be the first ‘Britannia’ on the GWSR since the morning of 4th September 1965. We are grateful to the 5305 Locomotive Association, custodian of the locomotive and the National Railway Museum for its loan.
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 ever 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
Please note: this locomotive is currently undergoing wheelset repars at Crewe and is not now expected to be returned to the GWSR in time for the event. But just in case it does: This locomotive 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 locomotive class 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 withdrawal from British 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, built 1941
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. No least of these, 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 new 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, built 1949
The Great Western Railway's standard mixed traffic locomotives were the numerous Hall class 4-6-0s introduced in 1924 by C B Collett as a development of Churchward's 'Saint' class. 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 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 the 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, which resumed in 1950 after the Great Western Railway had been nationalised to become the Western Region of British Railways. With a light 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.
On the North Gloucestershire narrow gauge line at Toddingston station (trips on the line free to ticket holders) you can expect to see at least two 2ft. gauge steam locomotives opertating over this delightful 2ft-gauge line. Those available for traffic are:
- Henschel & Sohn 0-8-0T no. 1901 of 1919
- Hunslet 0-4-2T no. 2075 Chakaskraal no. 6 of 1940
- Chrzanow 0-6-0T no. 3512 Tourska of 1957