Once the backbone of British industry these fine machines began to be phased out during the 1950s. This was escalated dramatically through the 1960s until 1968 when the last steam service ran on British Railways.
Some locomotives were saved for the nation by the National Railway Museum. Some were bought complete and working from British Railways, such as 92203 Black Prince, but for the majority of preserved locomotives it is thanks to a South Wales scrap merchant that they survive. Dai Woodham, like so many in the '60s, bought up steam locomotives to scrap at his yard in Barry, South Wales. The fortunate 200+ locos bought by Woodhams found themselves in a queue for scapping behind a large number of wagons and as such their scrapping was delayed. As time went on enthusiasts and groups became aware of this treasure trove of locomotives quietly rusting away in the sea air. Gradually, one by one they were bought and many have been restored and steamed again. All of the locos currently running on the GWSR were 'rescued from' the Barry scrap yard.
Steam Locomotives In Service
2807 - '28xx' class heavy freight locomotive, built 1905. This locomotive is owned by Cotswold Steam Preservation Limited and, after a 29 year restoration, is one of the GWR's resident locomotives.
- Wheel arrangement: 2-8-0
- Origin: Great Western Railway, designed by G J Churchward as the first-ever 2-8-0 class to run in the UK
- Introduced: 1903
- Working weight: 116 tons (locomotive 76 tons, tender 40 tons)
- Driving wheels: 4' 7 1/2"
- Tractive effort: 35,380lbs
- Water capacity: 3,500 gallons
- Purpose: Heavy, long-distance freight. These engines could be found throughout the Great Western Railway system. Altogether, 167 were built. No 2807 is the oldest GWR locomotive surviving in private hands. It was withdrawn in 1963 and was rescued from Barry scrapyard in 1981. It was returned to steam in 2010.
4270 - “42xx” class tank locomotive. This locomotive's restoration started at Toddington in mid-2003 before it moved elsewhere until it returned in 2013. With the restoration complete, 4270 made its debut at the 2014 Cotswold Festival of Steam and is now a regular performer on the GWSR.
- Wheel arrangement: 2-8-0T
- Origin: Great Western Railway
- Introduced: 1910
- Working weight: 82 tons
- Driving wheels: 4' 7 1/2"
- Tractive effort: 31,450lbs
- Water capacity: 1,800 gallons
- Purpose: Heavy freight work, mainly in the South Wales coalfields. 165 of these locomotives, which were the only 2-8-0 tank engines to run in the UK, were built at Swindon. No 4270 was built in 1919 and withdrawn in 1962, making the short journey from its last shed at Cardiff East Dock to the Barry scrapyard.
7820 Dinmore Manor - Manor class light mixed traffic locomotive, built 1950. This locomotive is owned by Dinmore Manor Locomotive Limited and arrived at Toddington fresh from its 10-year overhaul at the start of 2015.
- Wheel arrangement: 4-6-0
- Origin: Great Western Railway - although the final 78xx series, starting with No 7820, was completed by British Railways at Swindon in 1950. The Manor class was introduced by C B Collett in 1938. The class was plagued initially by poor steaming but this was finally resolved in 1952 by modifications to the blastpipe and firebars.
- Introduced: 1938
- Working weight: 69 tons (loco) plus 40 tons (tender)
- Driving wheels: 5' 8"
- Tractive effort: 27,340lbs
- Water capacity: 3500 galls
- Purpose: Mixed traffic on rural routes of the GWR, especially on the old Cambrian Railway. The Manors were a light-weight version of the earlier Grange class, fitted with the new No 14 boiler. Dinmore Manor started her working life at Oswestry before moving to Plymouth and, finally, to Cardiff before withdrawal in 1965. She was rescued from Barry in 1979 by the Gwili Railway.
7903 Foremarke Hall - Modified Hall class owned and restored by The Foremarke Hall Group. The engine's restoration was completed at the Swindon & Cricklade Railway in 2004 and the loco has been working on the GWR since then. Her first 10-year overhaul is complete and she re-entered service at the 2016 Cotswold Festival of Steam in May.
- Wheel arrangement: 4-6-0
- Origin: Great Western Railway - although the final 79xx series was completed by British Railways at Swindon in 1949. The Hall class was introduced by C B Collett in 1928. The Modified Hall, designed by the last CME of the Great Western Railway, F W Hawksworth, was introduced in 1944. The final members of the class, built in 1949, had noticeable differences in the front-end appearance and a different bogie amongst other modifications.
- Introduced: 1944
- Working weight: 122 tons
- Driving wheels: 6' 0"
- Tractive effort: 27,275lbs
- Water capacity: 4,000 gallons
- Purpose: A powerful mixed-traffic locomotive, as at home on express passenger trains as on freight work. 330 Hall & Modified Hall locomotives were built and could be found all over the Great Western system. The final 79xx series had a reputation for fast running and in 1951, Foremarke Hall became the first locomotive to cover the journey from London to Plymouth in less than four hours. It was allocated to Old Oak Common for most of its life but its final allocation was Cardiff East Dock, from where it was withdrawn in 1964 and moved to the nearby Barry Scrapyard. The FHTG purchased it in 1981.