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National Railway Museum confirms Oliver Cromwell Loan agreement

Great Central Railway in Loughborough become new custodians of locomotive no. 70013 Oliver Cromwell.

The National Railway Museum and Great Central Railway in Loughborough have agreed a two-year overhaul loan agreement which paves the way for historically significant locomotive no. 70013 Oliver Cromwell to return to steam.

The agreement will run from Friday 12 July 2019 until Friday 31 December 2021 and will see the locomotive based at Loughborough with the Great Central Railway named as custodians.

Great Central Railway will submit a plan to overhaul the engine and once agreed and completed, a second loan agreement will be confirmed to cover the operation of the locomotive.

Although the details of planned overhaul are subject to change, it is believed work will take place at the Great Central Railway using in-house engineering resources.

No significant mechanical or cosmetic changes are planned as part of the overhaul and the precise terms of the operational loan agreement are yet to be confirmed.

Head Curator and Assistant Director at the National Railway Museum Andrew McLean said:

“This loan agreement is in keeping with the aims of the Science Museum Group’s Operational Rail Vehicle Strategy, which reaffirms our commitment to running historically significant engines at heritage railways and on the main line.

Oliver Cromwell has enjoyed a very successful period of operation, it is popular, well-maintained and occupies a unique position in UK railway history for hauling the last steam-powered passenger train on British Railways in 1968. I am excited about the prospect of seeing it back in steam.”

Oliver Cromwell last ran at Great Central Railway on 31 December 2018 after a decade of successful operation at the heritage railway under a joint loan agreement with the volunteer 5305 Locomotive Association, led by Chief Engineer Tom Tighe. Although custodianship of the locomotive will transfer to Great Central Railway, the 5305 Locomotive Association will be heavily involved in the planned overhaul.

Managing Director of the Great Central Railway Michael Gough said:

“We are very proud that 70013 will be staying at the Great Central and look forward to the day when it will, once again, grace our “metals”. The GCR has a tremendous pedigree of locomotive restoration and maintenance, including Oliver Cromwell and we are delighted that the NRM has recognised this in their selection of the locomotive’s home for the next few years.”

Locomotive 4-6-2 no. 70013 Oliver Cromwell joined the National Railway Museum’s collection in 1968 entering preservation first at Bressingham Steam & Gardens before moving to York in 2004. Later that year the locomotive was overhauled at Great Central Railway in Loughborough, before entering service in May 2008.

Built at Crewe Works in 1951, Oliver Cromwell was one of 55 Standard Class 7, or Britannia Class, express locomotives which were operated by British Railways. The engine was also the last steam locomotive to be overhauled at Crewe Works in 1966 and is one of four locomotives which hauled the famous ‘Fifteen Guinea Special’ in August 1968.

The locomotive is part of the internationally significant Science Museum Group collection (more information and images are available here).


For more information, please contact:

Simon Baylis, PR & Press Manager
01904 686299

Photo credit: Rick Eborall

About the National Railway Museum

  • The National Railway Museum in York has the largest collection of railway objects in the world and attracts more than 750,000 visitors per year
  • The collection includes over 260 locomotives and rolling stock, 600 coins and medals as well as railway uniform and costume, equipment, documents, records, artwork and photographs
  • The National Railway Museum forms part of the Science Museum Group, along with the Science Museum in London, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford and Locomotion in Shildon
  • Admission to the National Railway Museum is free, for more information visit:

About the Great Central Railway

  • The Great Central Railway is the UK’s only double track, main line heritage railway
  • It was founded in 1976, is home to 16 miles of track and receives 100,000 passengers per year
  • Trains run every weekend of the year, bank holidays and selected weekdays through the summer
  • As well as steam passenger services, the Railway stages key events throughout the year including three steam galas and two diesel galas as well as offering a first class dining service.
  • The railway is supported by the David Clarke Railway Trust and the railway’s membership organisation is the Friends of the Great Central Main Line—visit