• Class 21 ‘Pug’ steam tank locomotive to visit the Cotswolds • A shunting stalwart for the Cotswold Festival of Steam, 12-14 May 2023 • Daily passenger workings from Toddington to Winchcombe and back
03 March 2023: A diminutiveand characterful 123-year-old 0-4-0 steam tank locomotive is to take charge ofshunting goods wagons at Winchcombe, a task it was designed to do, during the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway’s (GWSR) Cotswold Festival of Steam in May - a highlight of the railway’s calendar. The engine will also work a passenger train each day from Toddington to Winchcombe and back again later on in the day.
The locomotive in question is Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway 0-4-0ST Class 21 No. 19, and is appearing by courtesy of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Trust based on the East Lancashire Railway, which restored the engine to its present working order. The Class 21s were designed by John Aspinall and the 60-strong class, primarily built at Horwich, became popularly known as ‘Pugs' - a nickname which is still used today. Introductions startedi n 1886, with the last built in 1910.
Entering LMS service with a classification of 0F, No. 19 will carry its LMS identity 11243 for the event, which is quite appropriate given that both the LMS and GWR worked through Cheltenham and Gloucester, as well as the docks (jointly with the GWR). No. 19 was withdrawn in 1931 and sold into industry. It was sold to Mowlem & Co and named ‘Bassett’ to work at Mowlem’s dock in Southampton. It later went on to United Glass at Charlton, named ‘Prince’. It was sold into preservation at the East Lancashire Railway in 1967.
On nationalisation in 1948, of the 60 engines constructed,only 23 remained in service, three remaining until 1963 and one (preserved51218) lasting until 1964. Just two Pugs survive today and both are owned by the Lancashire & Yorkshire Trust.
Ian Crowder, the GWSR’s spokesman, commented: “Today it’s hard to believe, wandering around Gloucester Docks that it was once abustling interchange of goods from ship to shore and vice-versa, thousands oftons of goods coming and going by rail. Observant visitors to the retail delights of the docks today might notice rails here and there still remainingas a clue to its busy past.”
Whilst the ’Pugs’ didn’t quite make it to Gloucester (similarly sized Deely 0-4-0Ts did), they are representative of the types of short wheelbase engines seen working Gloucester docks and beyond. The ‘Pugs’ were associated with dock sidings such asFleetwood, Liverpool and Goole but later were even found as far away as Bristol and Swansea, thus they were some very well-travelled machines. The engines were perfect for negotiating the very sharp curves between the sidings and quays of the docks complex, and an ideal visitor for shunting at Winchcombe.
“Indeed, that is what the Pugs did back in the day - shunt tightly curved yards and dock complexes - indeed the visiting engine once worked at Southampton docks for Mowlem,” added Ian Crowder.
Tickets for the Festival are available online at www.gwsr.com. With up to eight steam locomotives running, it will offer an action-packed timetable of trains, including goods trains and shunting demonstrations. The locomotive and carriage & wagon workshops will throw open their doors for rare behind-the-scenes visits and there will be plenty of other activity at therailway’s stations. The sight and sound of a ‘Pug’ will add further flair tothe occasion.
The ‘Pug’ is the third visiting engine to be confirmed. Two other visiting locomotives have been confirmed for the event: Standard class 4 4-6-0 no. 75014 Braveheart, appearing by courtesy of the Dartmouth Steam Railway and Great Western Railway ‘Castle’ class no. 4079 Pendennis Castle, appearing by courtesy of the Great Western Society at Didcot Railway Centre.