An additional locomotive is to join the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway’s (GWSR) resident fleet for the first three months of the 2023 season. The visiting locomotive is British Railways Standard class 4 4-6-0 no. 75014 named Braveheart and owned by the Dartmouth Steam Railway in Devon.
The engine is expected to arrive at Toddington in early March and will remain on the line until after the railway’s Cotswold Festival of Steam (12-14 May), in which it will participate. It is the first time a member of the class has visited the line in preservation.
No. 75014 was completed by the newly-nationalised British Railways at Swindon works in December 1951, where all 80 members of the class were built between 1951 and 1954. It was allocated to a variety of London Midland and Western Region depots, latterly working trains over the challenging Cambrian route between Shrewsbury, Aberystwyth and Barmouth. The engine was eventually withdrawn from Shrewsbury in December 1966. Sold the following year to Woodham Brothers’ scrap dealers, the engine languished in their Barry, South Wales yard until 1981 when it was purchased by a consortium of preservationists from the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
Here, the engine was restored to main-line standard and it then spent some years working the ‘Jacobite’ service between Fort William and Mallaig in the Scottish West Highlands – the line over which the ‘Hogwarts Express’ scenes were shot for the Harry Potter films. In 2000, the engine was named Braveheart in recognition of the Mel Gibson film of the same name, which was also shot in the West Highlands.
In 2002, the locomotive was sold to the Dartmouth Steam Railway where it is now based.
Richard Johnson, Chairman of GWSR Plc said: “This will be a very welcome three-month addition to the GWSR’s locomotive fleet and we are very grateful to the Dartmouth Steam Railway & Riverboat Company for lending their locomotive to us.
“It fills a gap left following the withdrawal of Great Western 2-8-0T no. 4270 on expiry of its boiler certificate in January this year and before the under-overhaul 1905-built 2-8-0 no. 2807 returns to service later in the year.
“75014 is in fact, an entirely appropriate engine to be on our railway as during the 1950s and 1960s, other members of the class regularly worked over our line and in the wider Cheltenham and Gloucester areas.”
Given the local credentials of the class it will be a perfect addition to the fleet of home and visiting locomotives planned for the May Cotswold Festival of Steam, whose theme this year is ‘Cheltenham & Gloucester Steam Days’.
The GWSR resumes train services from 4th March at weekends. Once again, the railway will also be providing special trains for the Cheltenham Festival 14-17 March. Tickets for these trains are exclusively available from Classic Hospitality.
Photo credit: K Felstead