Steam locomotives to celebrate birthday this weekend

7903 "Foremarke Hall" with Test Train at Broadway Station // Credit Jack Boskett

Two steam locomotives on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway are celebrating birthdays this weekend.

Both locomotives were completed at GWR’s Swindon Works.

4270 has reached its Centenary while 7903 was built after the nationalisation of the railways, in 1949.

No. 4270 was one of 105 powerful tank locomotives designed by Chuchward and introduced in 1910.  They were the only British tank locomotives with the 2-8-0 wheel arrangement and were designed to handle heavy mineral traffic over relatively short distances. After being withdrawn in 1962, no. 4270 was sent to Barry Scrapyard in South Wales, before leaving for restoration in 1985. The engine is now a regular performer on the GWSR.

No. 7903 Foremarke Hall is a ‘Modified Hall’-class mixed traffic locomotive which was introduced by the Great Western Railway’s final Chief Mechanical Engineer, Hawksworth in 1944. In all 71 were built, the last few by British Railways following nationalisation, between 1948 and 1950.  Seven of the class survive, no. 7903 Foremarke Hall being the youngest. The engine spent most of its life allocated to Old Oak Common and working trains out of London Paddington. This year, Foremarke Hall celebrates its 70th birthday.  It was withdrawn from British Railways’ service in 1964 has been located on the GWSR since it was rescued from Barry Scrapyard in South Wales in 1981. 7903 was restored on the Swindon & Cricklade Railway. After successful testing it then moved to the GWSR, arriving in 2004 since when it has distinguished itself as a popular and reliable locomotive on the Cotswolds line.

Over the weekend of 14th and 15th September, both engines will carry distinctive headboards marking their ‘birthdays’. The GWSR will be running its Red timetable, meaning plenty of trains to ride up and down on.

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