The Great Western Railway 'Saint' class locomotives, introduced by G J Churchward in 1902, represented one of the most important steps forward in railway traction of the 20th century. The class incorporated many revoulutionary advances in design and the 'Saints' are now acknowledged to have had a profound influence on almost evey aspect of subsequent steam locomotive development.
Unfortunately no example was saved for preservation, the final engine, No. 2920 Saint David, being withdrawn from service and scrapped in 1953, ending a distinguished half century of work by the class.
Since 2004 the Great Western Society has been working to re-create an example of this iconic class using the opportunities provided by GWR standardization and 'Hall' class 4-6-0 No. 4942 Maindy Hall purchased from Barry Scrapyard by the GWS in 1974 with the specific intention of using it as the basis for a new 'Saint'. The Saint will return to steam in 2019.
No. 7903 Foremarke Hall is one of the 79XX series, the last batch of the Modified Hall class, and was built at Swindon in 1949 under BR auspices. Foremarke Hall is named after the great house in Derbyshire that is now the preparatory school for Repton College.
7903 was withdrawn from service in June 1964 and sold to Woodham Brothers where it languished until bought for restoration by a group of enthusiasts in June 1981.
The locomotive was restored at the Swindon and Cricklade Railway by the Foremarke Hall Transport Group and the locomotive made its public debut in steam on 20th September 2003.
The only other 79XX to survive is No 7927 Willington Hall which is being used as a donor engine for the ‘new-build' Grange and County locomotives currently under construction. No 7903 Foremarke Hall will then be uniquely the only 79XX class in existence.
These are Steam Days, so you will be able to view our collections of locomotives, coaches, wagons and buildings as described in the Centre Guide and in our Guidebook (available for purchase from our shop or at the entrance) and enjoy the various facilities and exhibits.
You can walk around the only surviving steam age loco depot in its original condition, and get up close to our large collection of locomotives which are so much more impressive when seen from ground level. Why not explore the rest of the centre including the Archie Trail, the Science Learning & Railways interactive exhibition and visit our shop and refreshment room?
In addition, you will be able to:
Check our Locomotive Roster to see what we expect to be running on your next visit.
You can buy tickets online at any time prior to the day of your visit - or buy them at the entrance on arrival.
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