Posts Tagged ‘Steam Trains’

Completed in 1937 this was the 100th Gresley designed Pacific locomotive to be built. It worked its life on the East Coast mainline and holds the post war steam speed record of 112 mph set on 23/5/1959. This was achieved over the same stretch of track the Mallard had used for the world record run pre-war, but the difference was that 4498 was pulling a full passenger train. It was withdrawn from service in February 1966 and sent to Crewe for refurbishment as it had been purchased by a preservation trust. Following this it was used to run railtours out of Steamtown at Carnforth. In 1994 it transfered to Great Central Railway and also did a spell at the East Lancs Railway before being based on the North York Moors railway. In 2012 it took part in the Olympic torch tour of the UK.



video by Grantham8 (

video by steamvideo (

Originally posted in July 2013

Was great to be back at Didcot Railway Centre to see 6023 King Edward II in steam.


6023 was a king-class heavy express steam locomotive specifically designed for taking express trains over the steep gradients found on Great Western routes in south-west England. 6023 came into service in June 1930 and spent most which working life based at depots in the South West before transferring to Old Oak Common in London in August of 1956, where it worked on the London – Wolverhampton route. In September of 1960 it transferred to Canton depot in Cardiff and until its withdrawal in June 1962 working trains between London and Cardiff.

Most of the King class locos disappeared quickly after they were withdrawn from service. However, 6023 together with 6024 were kept to perform deadweight testing on bridges and subsequently sent to Woodhams in Barry, where, like many locomotives they were left to decay. In fact, 6023 stayed at Barry until 1982 when it was purchased and moved first to Brighton and then to Bristol for restoration. Unfortunately before this work could be completed the funds ran out in 1988. The locomotive was then purchased by the Great Western Society, and arrived at Didcot in March 1990, where restoration recommenced. The locomotive was finally first steamed in public at Didcot in April 2011.

Brilliant to see her in full steam, although I have to say I’m not a great fan of the blue livery, although I’m told this is authentic BR livery from the 1950s. Call me traditional but I’d much rather see her in GWR green or BR green or black. perhaps blue engines remind me too much of Thomas the Tank Engine (Not that I have anything against Thomas, you understand)



3650 is a representative of the class 57 shunting engine, which operated on the Great Western Railway. It was built at Swindon in 1939 and worked through to 1963 when it was sold to Stephenson Clarke Ltd to work on a colliery in South Wales. It was purchased from there by a member of the Great Western Society in 1969 and was transferred first to Hereford and then to Didcot. Restoration took nearly 20 years but it was finally returned to working order in 2008.

These small shunting engines were among the commonest on the railway. 863 class 57 engines were built in total and like the diesel class 08 shunter which I featured a few days ago they formed the invisible work horses which kept the railways running.

3650 at Didcot
3650 in Stephenson Clarke livery
Photo by Roger Marks (

12-310  A Pannier Tank at the Bluebell; three of four - Didcot's 57XX 0-6-0PT No. 3650 at Sheffield Park  with the 14.00 to Kingscote
3650 in steam at Sheffield Park
Photo by Hectate 1 (

3650 in action at Didcot
Video by SimonTrains (

If I think back to the time that I first became interested in steam locomotives, the names of two locomotives come to mind that I remember seeing in those early days. These two engines both came from the same class, albeit built to 2 different designs. This was the GWR Hall class and the two locomotives concerned were 5900 Hinderton Hall and 6998 Burton Agnes Hall.



Hinderton Hall is an example of an early Hall class locomotive, built at Swindon in 1931. It spent much of its life working in the West Country and seems to have had a pretty unremarkable life. it worked up until 1963 when it was withdrawn from service at Bristol and sent to Woodham Brothers in Barry for scrapping. It was rescued from there in 1971 by a member of the Great Western Society and taken to Didcot where it was restored over the next five years to mainline running condition.

5900 Hinderton Hall over 4 years after withdrawal at Woodham's, Barry 23 March 1968
5900 at Woodhams in Barry
Photo by John Turner (

Hinderton Hall 5900 2
Photo by Tony Hisgett (

Hinderton Hall
Photo by Tony Hisgett (

It is currently on static display at the Didcot Railway Centre awaiting overhaul to return it once again to full working order. Unfortunately its position in the engine shed on my last visit made photography difficult so have included some other photos which do proper justice to one of my favourite locomotives.

City of Truro was a class 4-4-0 engine built for the GWR. It left Swindon works in 1903 and worked a variety of different duties. It was one of the first locomotives to reach 100mph, when in May 1904 it was timed at 8.8 seconds between quarter mile posts – this equates to a speed of 102.3 mph.




It was withdrawn from service in 1931 and was surprisingly sent to the LNER museum at York for preservation (The GWR seemingly uninterested in preserving this historic locomotive). In a bizarre turn about it was renovated in 1957 and return to BR usage for pulling excursion trains and also operating some timetabled services. It was withdrawn for a second time in 1961. It went first to the GWR museum at Swindon and then in 1984 to the NRM at York. In 2004 it was overhauled and returned to working order and spent 7 years primarily on the Gloucester and Warwickshire Railway before returning to NRM in 2011.

3717 at LLangollen Railway Gala 2010
video by danlefou (

D4-4-0 number 737 was built at Ashford for the London Chatham and Dover Railway. It entered into service in 1901 and was used on the fast express passenger services between London and Dover. It was withdrawn from service in 1951 and was subsequently restored and is part of the National Railway museum collection.






It is reckoned by some to be one of the most handsome engines ever produced

Some photos of 6023 King Edward II from last months steam day at Didcot Railway Centre



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Built in 197, this A4 pacific locomotive was originally due to be called Osprey, in keeping with the bird themed names of other A4s. However it was renamed Union of South Africa before entering service on the East Coast mainline. It was renamed as Osprey in the 1980s and 1990s due to the political situation between the UK and South Africa, but has since reverted to its original working name. In October 1964 4488 hauled the last steam train from Kings Cross to Edinburgh and it was withdrawn from service in June 1966 and passed into private hands. It has spent most of its time being based in Scotland or at the Severn valley Railway in the English Midlands and extensively used for railtours.




video by Britains Railways (


4468 Mallard was built at Doncaster in 1938. The A4 class was designed for the North-Eastern Railway by Sir Nigel Gresley to pull high speed express trains. Mallard remained in service until 1963 working the route between London and Edinburgh. Mallard is the holder of the record for the fastest steam train in the world at 125.88 MPH. This record was achieved on 3rd July 1938 on the Stoke bank section of the east coast line near Grantham. It was a risky business as a curve occurred in the line just beyond the Stoke bank and the engine needed to break heavily to ensure it remained on the rails, During this the engine overheated (a problem that had been foreseen) and the engine had to be removed from service for repairs. Mallard also took part in the 1948 Locomotive exchange trials when locos from different regions of the newly formed BR were trialed on routes they did not usually run. Mallard hauled a train from London Waterloo to Salisbury but failed following the run and was removed from the trial. Mallard also pulled the last Steam hailed flagship ‘Elizabethan’ express from London to Edinburgh on 8th September 1961.

In the 1980s the engine was restored to working order and after being used for a number of years for pulling railtours become part of the static collection at the National Railway Museum, firstly at York (till 2008) then at Shildon (2008-2010) and subsequently back at York.

The plaque on Mallard commemorating the Stoke bank record

The plaque on Mallard commemorating the Stoke bank record





Wow 6 gorgeous engines and so many people!

This is the first time I have had to queue to get into the National Railway Museum. It was just amazing how much interest it generated. It was great to see the 6 remaining A4s together, all looking resplendent in their refurbished livery. Am really sorry I didn’t manage to get to book one of the photography sessions as it require patience to get the photos due to the large number of people present and this was just after opening time- As I left a couple of hours later the queues were much longer. I went on the Mallard 75 simulator which gave some experience of what it must have felt like to be on the footplate of the loco as it set the record.