Monday, 13 March 2017

Gala Loco Announcements

We are now in the position to be able to announce the next two visiting locomotives for the Cotswold Festival of Steam gala on the 27th - 29th of May.

As you may recall, we have previously announced the attendance of Black Five, 45305 courtesy of the Great Central Railway and the 5305 Locomotive Association:
45305 passing Kinchley Lane on the GCR
  We are now proud to present the second loco in the line up thanks to the Severn Valley Railway & Push Pull LTD, Collett 0-4-2T, 1450 plus autocoach W238W.
OK, so this is 1450 with autocoach 178, but you get the idea
 The train can be driven from either end, with the driver in the locomotive cab when running loco first, or in a cab at the end of the autocoach, operating the regulator, brakes & whistle, whilst the fireman back in the loco does the rest.
1450, plus an unidentified autocoach on the Dean Forest Railway
1450 with goods at Dunster on the West Somerset Railway
 The 14XX class were no strangers to our line, with eight or nine of the class being shedded at any one time at Gloucester Horton Road.  Regular duties for the class were on the Cheltenham St James' to Honeybourne locals.  An autotrain working was a sensible choice as the turn involved working from Cheltenham St James' to Cheltenham Malvern Rd, which involved a change of direction at Malvern Rd.

1450 has been a guest at our railway on occasion before this, the last time being for the 2010 gala.
1450 sandwiched between 2 autocoaches on Stanway Viaduct in 2010.
It hopefully hasn't escaped your attention that the GWSR is in the process of rebuilding Hayles Abbey Halt.  The very first blog post from the team that are recreating it included a photo of 1424 which judging by the water overflowing from its water tanks had just screeched to a stop at Hayles Abbey Halt.  That blog post can be found by clicking on this link.   The halt is now substantially complete, but won't be open for use during the gala, yet seeing 1450 pass through with an autocoach will see another bit of our line's history recreated.
Running alongside the river Dart on the South Devon Railway
1450 was built in July 1935 (originally numbered 4850) and spent almost all of its working life at either Oxford or Abingdon.  Its final few years were at Taunton, Exeter & finally Exmouth Junction, from where it was with drawn in May 1965.  Unlike most surviving GWR locos, it didn't suffer the ignominy of waiting for many years in Barry Island Scrapyard before being saved, but was instead sold directly to the Dart Valley Railway.  It was one of the last two 14XX's in BR service.
1450 at Staverton on the South Devon Railway
We are now also in a position to announce a third visitor for our gala in the shape of is USATC S160, 6046, which comes to us courtesy of the Churnet Valley Railway.
6046 at Cheddleton on the Churnet Valley Railway
  The United States Army Transportation Corp's S160 is an American design of 2-8-0, built primarily for hauling heavy freight trains on the railways of Europe at the close of WWII.  Some 2,120 were built by a variety of manufacturers and shipped to Europe.  Manufacture commenced in 1942 and continued through to 1945.
6046 departing Consall on the Churnet Valley Railway.
 Around 400 S160's found their way to the United Kingdom during WWII, before being shipped on to mainland Europe after D-Day.
6046 on the Ipstone branch at the Churnet Valley Railway
 6046 was one of the last batch of 55 S160's locomotives, built by Baldwin Locomotive Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and delivered direct to France.  Although many were scrapped in France at the end of their service there, 6046 was later exported to Hungary. 
No prizes for guessing the location, note the air pump on the smoke box
 At the end of her working life in Hungary, she was brought to the UK for restoration and eventually ended up along with sister S160, 5197 at the Churnet Valley Railway in the ownership of Greg Wilson.
5197 (l) and 6046 at the Churnet Valley Railway
  174 S160's were allocated to the Great Western Railway during WWII, and they were a regular sight on our line during that period.  Unfortunately I have unearthed no photos from the time (wartime railway photos in general are fairly rare). 
5197 leads 6046 up the incline to Ipstone.
 The home fleet of 2807, 4270, 7820, DInmore Manor, 7903, Foremarke Hall & 35006, Peninsular & Oriental S.N. Co will of course all be in steam as well for the gala, along with the Toddington Narrow Gauge Railway (entry included in the gala ticket price).  Why on earth would you want to be anywhere else? Book your tickets online now.


  1. Firing Days by Harold Gasson, has a photograph of a USA 2-8-0, at Reading, there is no credit, so the photograph is likely to be by Maurice Earley as the caption implies that the author is on the footplate: no date is offered. The plate is the 3rd picture plate after page 26. The author was a Didcot fireman, later a signalman and has written a number of railway themed books.

    F Franks

  2. I take it that when these American locos were transferred to the GWR they carried the USA letters on the tender as per the pictures, and did not carry GWR insignia? If you know of any that did carry the GWR letters please (anyone) reply.

    1. There is a photo taken by the late Bill Potter of a USATC 2-8-0 climbing away from Cheltenham on the Kingham Branch towards Dowdeswell Viaduct with a train of box vans. The photo was taken from the rear of the Reservoir Inn in May 1944, when the line was probably working flat out. The train is some distance from the camera but the letters USA can just about be made out. (It could be GWR but I doubt it). The photo is on page 39 of the publication "Steam Routes around Cheltenham" by Stephen Mourton. (I'm sure I bought my copy at the GWSR.) On 17 November 1943, a similar loco (No 2403) fatally wounded its fireman near Honeybourne when the firebox crown collapsed. There was insufficient water in the boiler as these locos had a wheel operated valve cock which could easily be opened insufficiently. See page 50 of "The Honeybourne Line" by Colin Maggs and Peter Nicholson. Toddington Ted.

  3. I,remember during my firing days,at Honeybourne,my driver telling me,about the incident,with S160,No2403.It was at Honeybourne,East Loop!.The pictures,that I've seen in books,of them working on the GWR,in wartime,show USA,on the tender!.I,saw 6046,on the WSR,a few years ago.They had it,for a gala!.I'll definitely be at the GWSR.for the 3,days,of the Gala!.

  4. Nice line up so far, particularly looking forward to seeing the S160!

  5. Brilliant! My wife & I will be there for all three days.

  6. great to see 1450 + autocoach coming and hope it will stay for Hayles Abbey halt opening ceremony after the Gala ,a perfect match .

    Well done to Andy Beale this morning on Chris Evan's show ,fantastic PR although GWR wasn't mentioned .daily M.

  7. I did some of my driver training on 3278 Franklyn D Roosevelt when it visited the GWR in 1996, good fun especially the horizontal pull out regulator. I also spent a good few hours driving 1450 on its first visit not long after I passed out as a driver

    Dave Scott