We have received confirmation from the Didcot Railway Centre that they will no longer be making GWR ‘King’ No. 6023 ‘King Edward II’ available for mainline work.
This announcement comes as the Great Western Society (GWS) is set to start a programme of audience development to increase visitors to the centre.
The GWS’ policy of making engines from the working fleet available for use by other heritage railways when not required at the museum will continue.
6023 King Edward II has recently visited the Severn Valley Railway, Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railways and most recently starred at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
The locomotive has returned to the Oxfordshire base along with 4144 which was on a season-long loan to the Severn Valley Railway.
Following this visit, the Great Western Society has decided that the best way to allow access to these locomotives is to remove them from the mainline running list. To make the engines available for mainline work, the team has to reduce the height of the cabs and a vast amount of non-original signalling and mainline equipment.
With mainline equipment no longer needed, the staff at Didcot will work over the winter to fit the original cab to 6023 King Edward II, returning the locomotive to an authentic condition.
What did the officials say?
GWS Chairman, Richard Preston, commented,
“Not only have we found that allowing locomotives to visit other heritage lines maximises the number of people that can enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the locomotives in action, but they are also very accessible to our members and supporters in a way that we
cannot achieve with main line running.
“Financially, we have found that by hiring to other railways we can more reliably achieve the level of revenue we had hoped to earn from main line running, so this is undoubtedly the best route for us a responsible Charity looking to ensure a sustainable future for the items in our collection”
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