7027
7027 "Thornbury Castle" at Weston-super-Mare // Credit Photo Art

Great Western Railway (GWR) Castle Class No.7027 “Thornbury Castle”, owned by JJP Holdings South West Ltd, will shortly move to the West Somerset Railway’s (WSR) Williton Works where the castle will be restored mainline running standard.

Brief history of 7027

Although built to the GWR’s design, 7027 was turned out from Swindon Works in 1949 under British Railway’s (BR) ownership.

Despite being one of the younger members of the class, 7027 didn’t last to the end of Western Region steam, being withdrawn in 1963.

7027 was then sold to Barry Scrapyard, where the engine spent roughly 9 years.

Parts for 7027 "Thornbury Castle"- Engine and Tender // Credit Thornbury Castle 7027 Website
Parts for 7027 “Thornbury Castle”- Engine and Tender // Credit Thornbury Castle 7027 Website

Little to no restoration work has been carried out on 7027 since withdrawal, passing through a few owners until purchased by Jonathan Jones Pratt of JJP Holdings South West Ltd in 2016. 7027 was moved to JJP Holdings South West Ltd’s premises in Weston-super-Mare for storage before starting the restoration.

 

Plans for 7027

7027 "Thornbury Castle" in Ex-Works at Swindon // Credit J Cotes/Handcock Collection
7027 “Thornbury Castle” in Ex-Works at Swindon // Credit J Cotes/Handcock Collection

Once transferred to Williton Works, 7027 will undergo restoration to mainline standard. This is expected to take around six years. On completion, 7027 will become a member of WSR’s home fleet of steam locomotives, which includes GWR Hall Class No. 4936 “Kinlet Hall”, also owned by Jonathan Jones Pratt. On top of hauling trains on the WSR, 7027 is also planned to operate Mainline Tours.

Development of Williton Works

This collaboration between the West Somerset Railway and JJP Holdings South West Ltd  in restoring 7027 will also support the West Somerset Railway’s development of Williton Works. The long-term plan for Williton Works is turning the works in a railway engineering centre and a training centre of excellence. This would benefit the railway but also the area of Somerset, allowing the railway to provide engineering apprenticeships.

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