Press Release: Workhorses of Steam to take over the GWSR

- Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway Festival of Steam – Late May Bank Holiday weekend

- ‘Black Five’ heads visiting locomotive line-up

- At least EIGHT engines planned to be working 


A Festival of Steam that celebrate’s Britain’s ‘Workhorses of Steam’ would not be complete without a ‘Black Five’ (or LMS class 5*) and a member of this once commonplace locomotive type, no. 45305, has been secured for the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway’s end-of-May event.


‘Workhorses of Steam’ is the theme of the railway’s annual Cotswold Festival of Steam, 27-29 May 2017.


The volunteer-run heritage railway has built an enviable reputation for putting on an outstanding show for its imaginatively-themed three-day May steam galas.  It has enjoyed steadily rising visitor numbers, with over 4,500 tickets sold for the record-breaking 2016 event.


Chairman of the organising committee, Ray O’Hara commented: “We’re thrilled that 45305 is coming to the railway – in fact, it is only the second time that a ‘Black Five’ has visited our line in preservation, although they did traverse the route in later British Railways steam days.


“This 125-ton engine is owned by the 5305 Locomotive Association and is normally based at the Great Central Railway, Loughborough and we’re grateful to them for allowing us to run it on our line.  It will be delivered by road a few days before the event.


“We’re negotiating with other locomotive owners to further the ‘Workhorses of Steam’ theme and expect to announce them soon.


“With the home fleet as well, we expect to field at least eight locomotives in steam!”


The Festival will include runs behind steam along the Broadway extension as far as Laverton (now usually only accessible by diesel railcar as the ‘run-round’ loop at Laverton has been removed for eventual use at Broadway); brake van rides (for a small additional cost) between Toddington and Cheltenham and the rare chance for a footplate ride (that must be booked in advance).


An intensive service including three passenger train sets as well as the freight train will ply the 12-mile line and ensure a Bank Holiday weekend packed with interest and excitement. Locomotive antiquity ranges from 1905 to 1950  – representing half-a-century of steam locomotive development.


A range of activities and entertainment will be on offer at all of the railway’s stations, while a free classic bus service will link the Network Rail Cheltenham Spa station with the GWSR’s Cheltenham Racecourse station.


Tickets for the event are now available online at where full information about the event can also be found.  Advance tickets cost £21(adult, one day); Child £6 (one day) and family £51 (two adults, three children, one day).




*The LMS class 5 4-6-0’s were mixed-traffic locomotives introduced in 1930 and were so successful that more than 830 were built over the next 20 years.  They could be found almost anywhere on the national network handling almost any type of train from express passenger to pick-up goods – real workhorses of steam.  The last of the ‘Black Five’s’ saw the end of British Railways steam in 1968. 18 survived into preservation.  They were so called because all were painted black.


The railway’s ‘home fleet’ locomotives running over the weekend will be:

  • 2807: Great Western heavy freight locomotive, built 1905
  • 4270: Great Western heavy freight tank locomotive, built 1919
  • 35006 Peninsular & Oriental SN Co: Southern Railway express/mixed traffic locomotive built 1941, rebuilt by British Railways 1959
  • 7903 Foremarke Hall: British Railways (WR) mixed traffic locomotive, built 1949
  • 7820 Dinmore Manor: British Railways (WR) mixed traffic locomotive, built 1950


Media contact: Ian Crowder, 07775 566 555 or ian.crowder@gwsr,com


Note: High-resolution images of all the above locomotives available 

This picture shows Black Five no 45305 at Old Arley on the Birmmingham-Nuneaton line in 2010 (Picture credit Jack Boskett)