Collection highlights


The locomotive collection includes some of the most iconic GWR engines in preservation. Most notable are No. 6000 King George V, No. 4073 Caerphilly Castle and No. 3440 City of Truro.  Also of significance are No. 2818 Churchward Heavy Freight locomotive and the skeleton of 4200 Class locomotive, No. 4248.  Engines No. 2516 Dean Goods and No. 9400 Hawksworth Pannier Tank complete the collection of standard gauge locomotives. Representing the GWR’s broad gauge history is the replica of broad gauge 2-2-2 Star Class locomotive North Star.

*On loan from the National Railway Museum.

  • No. 2516 Dean Goods*

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    William Dean, Chief Locomotive Engineer at Swindon Works 1877 – 1902, designed the Dean Goods Class of locomotives. The first locomotive of the class was built in 1883 at Swindon.

    During the First World War, 62 of these locos were sent to France and Salonika (Greece). The engines were lightweight, strong, and reliable, making them ideal for war work. Inexperienced crews also found them easy to drive.

    During the Second World War, 108 of these locos were requisitioned. Of these, 32 had already seen service during the First World War. Most were sent to France and many were destroyed in the retreat to Dunkirk or used on the French railways by German forces.

    No. 2516 was built in 1897. It spent most of its working life taking goods and passengers up and down the GWR branch lines in Mid-Wales before being withdrawn from service in the 1950s.

    *On loan from the National Railway Museum.

  • No. 3440 City of Truro*

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    George Jackson Churchward, Chief Mechanical Engineer for the GWR 1902 – 1922, designed the City Class of locomotive. For the City locos, he used initial designs prepared by his predecessor, William Dean. The GWR built ten City Class locos between 1903 and 1907. They also converted ten GWR Atbara Class locos into the City Class.

    In 1903, 3440 City of Truro became the 2,000th loco built at Swindon Works. It was re-numbered 3717 by GWR in 1912 along with a number of other locos. This meant that locos of the same class all had consecutive numbers.

    On 9th May 1904, City of Truro claimed to be the first steam locomotive to reach over 100 miles an hour. It was travelling between Plymouth and London Paddington, hauling the ‘Ocean Mails’ special. City of Truro was timed as taking 8.8 seconds to travel a quarter of a mile; equal to 102.3 miles an hour.

    City of Truro was withdrawn from service in 1931. Although it was later returned to heritage railway service and continued operating until 2011.

    *On loan from the National Railway Museum.

  • No. 4073 Caerphilly Castle*

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    Charles Collett, Chief Mechanical Engineer at Swindon Works 1922 – 1941, designed the Castle Class of locomotive. He based the designs for the Castle Class locos on the earlier Star Class.

    In 1922, Castle locos were Britain’s most powerful express passenger loco. Castle Class locos had larger boilers, and were designed to pull heavier loads.

    Between 1923 and 1950, the GWR built 155 Castle locos at Swindon Works. A further sixteen were converted from other classes. On the 23rd August 1923, Caerphilly Castle was the first Castle Class loco to go into service. In 1924 and 1925, Caerphilly Castle was exhibited at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley next to The Flying Scotsman.

    Castle Class locos were used on the express route between London Paddington and Cheltenham Spa. The Cheltenham Spa Express was a record breaker. In June 1923, it took just 75 minutes to travel from Swindon to Paddington, at an average speed of 61.8 miles per hour.

    In July 1929, it became the world’s fastest train when it achieved an average speed of 66.2mph. On June 6th 1932, the Cheltenham Flyer smashed its own speed record, reaching an average speed of 81.6mph.

    *On loan from the National Railway Museum.

  • No. 6000 King George V*

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    Charles Collett, Chief Mechanical Engineer at Swindon Works 1922 – 1941, designed the King Class to be the most powerful express passenger steam locomotive in Britain.

    In 1927, King George V was the first of the King locomotives to be built. The engine was named after the reigning monarch and later locos were named after previous kings of England.

    The King locos were much heavier than previous engines. A number of bridges and platforms had to be strengthened to accommodate them. The Kings weren’t used in Cornwall because the Royal Albert Bridge was too weak to support their weight.

    In 1927, King George V was sent to the USA to take part in the centenary celebrations for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. While there, it was presented with the brass bell which is still attached to the front of the locomotive.

    In 1947, the GWR began experiments leading to a number of modifications to ensure the King locomotives continued to perform well. By the time King George V was retired in 1962, it had travelled nearly two million miles.

    *On loan from the National Railway Museum.

  • No. 9400 Hawksworth Pannier Tank*

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    Frederick Hawksworth designed the Pannier Tank Locomotives. Hawksworth spent his entire career at Swindon Works. He began as an apprentice in 1905 and rose to become Chief Mechanical Engineer in 1941, before retiring in 1949.

    From 1947, GWR built ten Hawksworth Pannier Tan locos at Swindon Works. The loco was called a ‘Pannier Tank’ because the water tanks on either side of the boiler looked like pannier bags carried by horses.

    Hawksworth Pannier Tank locos were used all over the rail network for shunting and hauling passenger and goods trains on smaller branch lines. The locos could often be seen taking empty carriages to and from Paddington Station.

    In 1947, No 9400 was the first Hawksworth Pannier Tank to be built at Swindon. It was one of the last locos to be built by the GWR before the railways were nationalised in 1948. After nationalisation, private contractors for British Railways built another 200 Hawksworth Pannier Tanks. By 1965, all Hawksworth Pannier Tanks including No. 9400 had been withdrawn from service.

    *On loan from the National Railway Museum.

  • Replica of North Star*

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    North Star is a broad gauge locomotive, built
    in 1837 for the New Orleans and Carrollton Railroad in the USA by Robert Stephenson and Company.

    The full size replica on display at STEAM was built at Swindon Works in 1926 to the 1837 specification. It was built to celebrate 100 years of the railways. The replica uses some parts from the original locomotive.

    *On loan from the National Railway Museum.

  • No. 4248

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    No. 4248 was built in 1916 at Swindon Works. It is one of the 4200 class of 2-8-0 tank engines designed by George Jackson Churchward. No. 4248 spent most of its working life hauling coal trains in and around South Wales. After being withdrawn from service in 1963 the engine spent many years in Barry Scrapyard. It was rescued from there in 1986.

    No. 4248 was purchased for the Museum with the support of a Museums and Galleries PRISM grant. The engine has been conserved at STEAM and is on display as if it is a locomotive under construction in the Boiler Shop area of the museum.

  • No. 2818 Churchward Heavy Freight

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    George Jackson Churchward, Chief Mechanical Engineer at Swindon Works 1902 – 1921, designed the 2800 class of heavy freight locos.

    The 2800 class was a completely new design and not based on any previous loco type. Churchward’s design proved to be so successful that they were built from 1903 until 1942. During the 60 years that they were in service, they only underwent minor changes to their original build.

    The original paint livery was black with red lining. This was changed to green during the First World War. Once the locomotive was under British Railways ownership, it was given the standard unlined black livery.

    No. 2818 was allocated to work in South Wales where it hauled heavy coal trains. During the First World War, the loco, along with most others in the class, hauled the Jellicoe Specials, transporting coal to the Royal Navy’s fleet of ships based in Scapa Flow. Unusually for freight locos, the 2800’s were also used on Bank Holiday passenger special trains, where they demonstrated both their strength and their speed.

    On 21 August 2018, STEAM welcomed No. 2818 home to Swindon. The return of No. 2818 to the site where it was built in 1905 was a momentous occasion in Swindon’s history, and an emotional day for many who came to see the loco move. This below film was produced to celebrate our new acquisition, and to also say farewell to Class 7800 No. 7821 Ditcheat Manor.

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