No. 5 ‘Shannon’ is part of the country's National Collection. There are only 5 remaining George England engines today and 'Shannon' is the only standard gauge one. The remaining four are all narrow gauge and were built for, and are still with, the Ffestiniog railway in North Wales, where three of them are still operational.
1857 - Built by George England and Co. of New Cross, London for Capt. William Peel, the owner of the Sandy and Potton Railway, at a cost of £800.
1862 - Sold to LNWR and numbered 1104. After an unsuccessful two week trial on the Cromford and High Peak Railway she left to become a Crewe Works shunter.
1872 - Renumbered to 1863 and given the name 'Shannon'
1878 - Sold to the Wantage Tramway Company for £365 8s 1d and moved under her own power from Crewe to Oxford then on GWR lines to Wantage Road Station. Here she was renumbered to No. 5 and given the unofficial name ‘Jane’. During her service on the Tramway the engine was little altered, although new cylinders were fitted in 1882. She also had two heavy repairs at Swindon works in 1896 and 1921, followed by one in 1929 by the Avonside Engine Co, of Bristol. In 1939 another return to Swindon saw her gain a works plate carrying the words ‘Registered by GWR No. 209, 1941’.
1946 - The Wantage Tramway closed and the GWR bought No. 5 for £100. Visiting Swindon works again the name ‘Shannon’ was reapplied and in 1948 she was placed on display on the platform of the GWR station at Wantage Road.
1965 - Wantage Road was closed and ‘Shannon’ moved into storage at Grove on the premises of the Atomic Energy Authority. Here she drew the attention of some employees who were, by chance, Society members. After discussion with Wantage Town Council a move to Didcot was arranged and completed in January 1969. Work then got under way to see if ‘Shannon’' could be restored and, following repairs, she was finally steamed and operated again in October 1969, 26 years after being written off.
1975 - ‘Shannon’ was a star of the 150th anniversary of the Stockton and Darlington Railway celebrations. Alas cracks were subsequently discovered in the firebox which would require major work if she were to steam again.
2017 - ‘Shannon’ has been cosmetically restored and painted in her original Wantage Tramway Co. red livery.