The Great Western Railway freight locomotive is returning home to Swindon after 112 years.
The National Railway Museum has announced the transfer of GWR 2-8-0 28XX Class locomotive No. 2818 to STEAM—Museum of the Great Western Railway in Swindon.
The Edwardian freight locomotive will go on display alongside other objects and locomotives that tell the historic story of the Great Western Railway.
Councillor Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council's Cabinet Member responsible for STEAM, said:
“Locomotive 2818 is a vital part of history for the people of Swindon. The addition of this superb GWR locomotive to the STEAM collection is very exciting. We’re delighted to be gaining a significantly historic freight locomotive for permanent display.
“Staff at STEAM worked closely with the National Railway Museum, following the strict guidelines for the transfer of ownership, to ensure the locomotive has a secure future. We can’t wait to have No. 2818 on public view.”
Currently based at Locomotion, the National Railway Museum at Shildon, 2818 is expected to arrive in Swindon later this year once the legal transfer is complete. There are no plans to return the locomotive to working condition.
The disposal completes a review of the National Collection by the National Railway Museum which also saw the transfer of the T3 4-4-0 locomotive number 563 to Swanage Railway in April.
Andrew McLean, Assistant Director and Head Curator at the National Railway Museum, said:
“2818 is a very important locomotive in documenting the story of the development of the railways in the South West and South Wales and it is fitting that we can return this long-serving engine to its Swindon birthplace almost 112 years after it first rolled off the production line.
“Transferring ownership to such a well-respected institution with whom we have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship will give this engine the best future possible and reflects our duty to ensure the National Collection remains sustainable, relevant and engaging. In the unlikely event that STEAM could not continue to preserve the locomotive in future, then the locomotive would be offered back to the National Collection.”
When 2818 arrives in Swindon it will join many other famous Great Western engines currently on loan from the National Railway Museum, including: GWR 4-4-0 No. 3717 ‘City of Truro’ and GWR 4-6-0 King Class, No. 6000 ‘King George V’. These locomotives arrived at STEAM in 2015 ahead of the 2016 celebration of 175 years of Swindon’s railway heritage.
Built in December 1905, 2818 spent most of its life hauling slow-moving coal trains in South Wales and was the longest-lived GWR two-cylinder locomotive type before being withdrawn in October 1963 after 57 years.
Designed by the influential railway engineer George Jackson Churchward, 2818 was an example of the first 2-8-0 ‘Consolidation' class wheel alignment in Great Britain and was highly regarded as a heavy freight locomotive.
The 2800 class was so successful that it remained in production with minor modifications until 1942, by which time 167 locomotives had been built.
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- There are six 2800 class locomotives surviving and two, 2807 and 2857, have been restored to operational use
- In 1905 the 2818 originally cost £2,458 for the engine and boiler plus £473 for the 3,000-gallon tender
- 2818 was decommissioned on 25 October 1963 after completing 1,584,890 miles
- 2818’s original livery was black lined out in red but the current livery is the plain green introduced during the First World War
- The locomotive was scheduled for eventual preservation by the British Transport Commission in 1953 and was selected because of its longevity and because it still retained inside steam pipes and the original style foot plating
- The locomotive was restored at Eastleigh Works in 1967
STEAM—Museum of the Great Western Railway
- The STEAM Museum is located on the historic site of the former Swindon Railway Works alongside the National Trust, Historic England and the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet, drawing over 3 million visitors collectively to the site
- STEAM has the largest collection of GWR railway objects in the world and opened in June 2000 as Swindon’s Millennium Project
- The STEAM Museum houses a world-class collection of 8 GWR locomotives, which includes King George V, City of Truro and Caerphilly Castle on loan from the National Railway Museum
- The STEAM Museum has a large collection of posters, prints and drawings, paintings, and in excess of 100,000 photographs, many of which have never been on public display, but are available through the STEAM Picture Library
- The STEAM Museum is owned and managed by Swindon Borough Council
- Further information on the Museum’s Collecting Policy
- For more information, visit the STEAM website or follow STEAM on Twitter and Facebook
The National Railway Museum
- The National Railway Museum in York has the largest collection of railway objects in the world and attracts over 700,000 visitors per year
- The collection includes over 260 locomotives and rolling stock, 600 coins and medals, almost 5,000 pieces of railway uniform and costume, railway equipment, documents, records, artwork and railway-related photographs
- The National Railway Museum houses a world-class collection of royal trains, which includes a collection of royal carriages, from those used by Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II
- The National Railway Museum’s vast art collection comprises over 11,000 posters, 2,300 prints and drawings, 1,000 paintings, and 1,750,000 photographs, many of which have never been on public display
- The National Railway Museum forms part of the Science Museum Group, along with the Science Museum in London, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford and Locomotion, the National Railway Museum in Shildon
- Admission to the National Railway Museum is free
- Read more detail of the National Railway Museum’s Collecting Policy
- For more information, follow us on Twitter or join us on Facebook