Collection highlights

Rolling Stock

The collection holds a small but varied selection of Great Western rolling stock, which includes Queen Victoria’s Royal Saloon which was built in 1897.  Another highlight is the beautiful art deco styled Buffet Car No. 9631.  The rolling stock collection also includes a Toad Brake Van, a Mink Wagon, a shunters truck and two track inspection vehicles.

  • Buffet Car No 9631, 1934*

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    Buffet Car No. 9631 was built at Swindon Works in 1934 and was one of only two carriages built to this style.

    The Great Western dining was a glamorous experience in the 1930s. Uniformed waiters on the GWR’s buffet cars wore pale cream jackets and chocolate trousers, and served drinks and snacks to passengers.

    The exterior of the buffet car is of the classic chocolate and cream livery and displays the stylish Art Deco inspired GWR roundel.

    *On loan from the National Railway Museum.

  • Covered Goods Van (Mink Van)

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    The Covered Goods Van (or ‘Mink’ van) on display at STEAM was built in 1927. It is typical of many vans built by the Great Western Railway.

    Although the Great Western Railway transported thousands of passengers each year, the task of moving goods from place to place was just as important to the company.

    This goods van would have been used for transporting biscuits, furniture and other items which didn’t need refrigeration or special handling around the GWR network.

  • Shunters’ Truck*

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    Shunters worked with engine drivers to get wagons in the right order so that trains could leave the goods yard. The work of a Shunter in the Good Yard could be dangerous – shunters could be knocked over by wagons or crushed between the buffers of wagons.

    Shunters’ Trucks enabled shunters to ride safely around larger goods yards. The wheels are covered which stopped clothing and equipment getting caught in the wheels. The large locker which you can see at the top of the truck is where tools and spare shunting poles were stored.

    Shunters’ trucks were unique to the GWR and this particular one was built in Swindon Works in 1914.

    *On loan from the National Railway Museum.

  • Track Inspection Vehicles

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    Having the ability to travel quickly and efficiently up and down sections of track is essential in keeping trains running safely and smoothly. Staff employed by the Great Western Railway (and later British Railways) used vehicles such as these to inspect railway tracks.

    The three-wheeled tricycle-style trolley pictured would have been powered by hand.

    Around 30 of the car-style ‘Type 4’ petrol-fuelled trolleys were built by Wickham and Co during the 1950s and 1960s. The one on display at STEAM was used on the Tetbury Branch Line.

  • Queen Victoria's Royal Saloon, 1897

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    Queen Victoria’s Royal Saloon is one of the highlights of our rolling stock collection.

    Made specially by the GWR at Swindon Works, this carriage formed part of Queen Victoria’s 1897 Diamond Jubilee Train. It provided accommodation for the Queen, Prince Albert, and their attendants.

    The carriage retains some of its original wallpaper, mahogany and walnut woodwork, gilding and ornate carving which gives an insight into the former splendour of the Royal vehicle.

    This carriage retired from service in 1930.

  • Brake Van

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    In 1852, the Great Western Railway required every goods train to have a brake van with a handbrake controlled by a guard. This style of van was introduced in the 1880s.

    The wide veranda gave the guards a good view and also housed the brake handle, used by the guard to control the speed of the train when needed. Inside the van, the guard would have had emergency equipment and a stove – useful on longer winter nights.

    The brake van on display at STEAM is a typical GWR design, built at Swindon Works in 1946. It was still in service in the 1990s on track engineering trains.

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