One of a class of only two engines, unusually employing Kitson-Hawthorn valve gear with the link above the running plate, built for the Cardiff Railway in 1898.
The Cardiff Railway was owned by the Marquis of Bute and was the smallest railway absorbed into the Great Western in 1923. It operated a 'main line' of 11 and a half miles connecting to the Taff Vale railway (also absorbed into the GWR in 1923) and 120 miles of dock and colliery sidings. It owned only tank locomotives of various sizes.
This attractive little engine was built as Cardiff Railway No. 5 in 1898 by Kitsons of Leeds (works number 3799), to replace an older No. 5. With its twin, No. 6, it was inherited by the GWR in 1923, who renumbered them 1338 and 1339. 1339 was cut up in 1934, but 1338 remained, initially in store but then loaned to Stewarts & Lloyds Ltd of Swansea during the second world war. On return it was transferred to Taunton depot in 1943 for working in Bridgwater docks, then to Swansea docks in 1960. From there it was finally withdrawn in September 1963, becoming the last withdrawal of all standard gauge locomotives absorbed into the GWR. It ran 354,000 miles in GWR and BR service, a huge mileage for such a small engine.
In April 1964, 1338 was saved from scrapping and moved to behind the up platform at Bleadon & Uphill (Somerset) station, where it could be detected amongst the bushes from passing expresses. In 1987 it was brought to Didcot, and was restored to working order, though the boiler certificate has now expired and the locomotive is on display in non-operational condition.