Updated 24 May
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.
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 overhauled Standard class 4 2-6-0 no 76017, visiting for the first time, is pictured climbing Medstead Bank on its home Mid-Hants Railway (Photo: Matt Allen)
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 ''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 on each day of the three day event: its home fleet bolstered by three visitors from other heritage railways.
We are delighted now to confirm our visitors:
Firstly, No. 76017 is one of 115 members of the the Standard class 4 2-6-0s, designed by Riddles for British Railways, introduced in 1952. First visit to the line of a member of this class!
Secondly, a welcome return to the railway of 14xx class 0-4-2T no. 1450, this time with auto trailer no W238 named Chaffinch; the architypal Great Western branch-line 'workhorse' and a class that ran local train services between Cheltenham and Honeybourne until 1960. W238 worked on this line in the 1950s - find out more in our feature on auto-trains.
Please note: boiler repairs to 'Black Five' no. 45305, previously announced as a visitor, will regrettably not be complete in time for the Cotswold Festival of Steam; while 7F no. 53808 expected from the West Somerset Railway will not now be visiting as it is required for operational reasons; no 6024 has, unfortunately, failed so we'll have to wait for another time to see an S160 on the GWR again.
Locomotives in order of age - visitors:
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 were a famniliar sight on 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 return visits since. 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. However, auto-trailer W238 was for a time based at Gloucester and worked local services. You can read more in our feature on auto-trains on this line.
BR Standard Class 4 no. 76017, designed at Doncaster by Robert Riddles and built in 1953 (courtesy of the Mid-Hants Railway)
No. 76017 is one of 115 members of the the Standard class 4 2-6-0s, designed by Riddles for British Railways and introduced in 1952. Construction was shared between the works at Doncaster, Derby and Horwich (where 76017 was completed in 1953), and were widely distributed across all regions except the Western. With 5ft 3in driving wheels, they were designed primarily to handle freight traffic but proved themselves very capable of handling passenger trains too and were classified 4P4F on the Southern Region – so this is in many ways, is the archetypal 'workhorse of steam'. 76017, one of 37 allocated to the Southern Region, was first allocated to Eastleigh and, from 1960, Salisbury from where it was withdrawn in 1965. Along with Maunsell 'Schools' class 4-4-0s, these 2-6-0s regularly handled Waterloo-Lymington Pier boat trains (for the Isle of Wight) – because these were the only tender engines able to be turned on the small turntable at Brockenhurst. After withdrawal, 76017 found its way to Barry Scrapyard from where it was privately purchased in 1974 for restoration and returned to steam in 1985. The engine has again been overhauled and re-entered service again in July 2016. It is one of four of the class to survive, one of which, 76077, is stored on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway awaiting restoration – so perhaps the visit of 76017 is a taste of things to come!
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 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 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, 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 loicomotives were the numberous 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 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, 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