Updated 20 August 2021
To mark the 40th Anniversary the GWSR is operating all of its operational steam and main-line diesel locomotives, creating a spectacular and rare combination of sights and sounds. Both steam and diesel have played a part in the development of the GWSR since its earliest days and doubtless an event like this was the stuff of the dreams of our pioneering volunteers who took over a 15-mile stretch of derelect, trackless and stationless former main line back in 1981. The first train on the GWSR ran in 1984, comprising a diminutive Avonside 0-4-0T industrial locomotive: 'Cadbury No. 1' and a single Mk.1 coach. Today the railway typically runs eight-coach trains hauled by superbly restored steam and diesel locomotives locomotives
Which way are the locomotives pointing?
Following is the way that the steam locomtovies are pointing (ie North = chimney towards Broadway, South = chimney towards Cheltenham)
4270 - NORTH
7820 - NORTH
7903 - NORTH
35006 - SOUTH
Locomotives in order of age - steam:
Churchward 4200 class 2-8-0T no. 4270, built 1919
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 design 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 but 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 was 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 associated with the heaviest express passenger services on the Southern Railway's routes from Waterloo to Bournemouth and to the West Country. The class of 30 locomotives was ostensibly a mixed traffic design introduced by O V S Bulleid in 1947 with a highly unconventional 'air-smoothed' boiler casing and incorporating many new features such as chain-driven valve gear in an enclosed oil bath. Although the engines were extremely capable, the design was let down its innovative features. As a result, the entire class were rebuilt to conventional appearance during the late 1950s, as 35006 is now presented. 35006 was withdrawn from service in August 1964 having spent its entire working life allocated to Salisbury. 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. You can find out more about the Merchant Navy class on our feature pages.
Hawksworth 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 the 2017 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.
Locomotives in order of age - diesel:
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