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Help raise £60,000 to ensure Didcot Railway Centre’s first locomotive is back in action for our 60th Anniversary!
In 1961, four schoolboys wrote to the Railway Magazine to drum up support to purchase a 14XX Class tank locomotive and “preserve it in running order.” They mused that if there were sufficient support they might also obtain a “pull-and-push” coach.
That letter led to the foundation of the Great Western Society and six decades on, Didcot Railway Centre is a popular living museum, home to around 30 steam locomotives, 50 or so carriages and dozens of wagons as well as restored buildings and thousands of other artefacts to help conjure up the golden age of the Great Western Railway.
The appeal that started it all was successful with 1466 becoming the Society’s first locomotive and a Didcot stalwart until 2000 when boiler repairs and a major overhaul became necessary.
Plans are well advanced to return 1466 to steam, ready to take her rightful place at the heart of the Society’s 60th Anniversary celebrations in 2021, but we need your help to get the charming, octogenarian tank engine back on the rails. Around £60,000 is needed to complete the most extensive overhaul the locomotive has had since its final days with British Railways when it received a heavy intermediate overhaul at Newton Abbott in early 1961.
Much work on the £300,000 project has already been done with repairs to the wheels and motion largely complete and the locomotive is once again a rolling chassis. Extensive boiler work is still required including a new foundation ring, new smokebox, specialist copper welding to the firebox and the replacement of the crown stays.
The work is being carried out by Western Steam Engineering and providing the final funds are raised, the restoration will be completed in time for 1466 to return to Didcot in early 2021.
Please help ensure this iconic and historic locomotive can delight generations of future visitors to Didcot. Any contribution will help make a difference, but you might like to link your gift to a significant number in 1466’s history:
Give £60 to get 1466 running for GWS’ 60th Anniversary
Donate £14.66 every month for a year and see 1466 running in a year!
Contribute £1,131 – the original 1961 estimate of saving a 14XX
Give £2,247 – the sum it cost the Great Western Railway to build 1466 when new in 1936
£4,866 – the locomotive’s identity until renumbered in 1946
For up to date information on restoration progress see 1466s own Facebook page (Last Updated 1st June 2020).