We bring together two locomotives which represent the beginning and end of the remarkable engineering strategy that the Great Western Railway pursued for 50 years in the first half of the 20th century. It resulted in an unrivalled motive power fleet based on standardised components, with all the economies of scale associated with that strategy.
2999 Lady of Legend has been rebuilt to represent the Saint class, prototypes of which appeared from 1901, which was arguably the most important steam locomotive design in Britain of the early 20th century. 7903 Foremarke Hall represents the final batch of locomotives on the Saint theme of 4-6-0 wheel arrangement and two outside cylinders, still being built in 1950.
The common thread is the Swindon Standard No 1 boiler which was used on no less than five classes – Saint, Star, Hall and Grange 4-6-0s and 28xx 2-8-0s. It provides the unmistakable GWR family resemblance between the two locomotives.
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Unfortunately no example was saved for preservation, the final engine, No. 2920 Saint David, being withdrawn from service and scrapped in 1953, ending a distinguished half century of work by the class.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'.
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7903 was withdrawn from service in June 1964 and sold to Woodham Brothers where it languished until bought for restoration by a group of enthusiasts in June 1981.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.
A selection of Real Ales & Ciders will be available – why not pop in and try some? All funds raised go towards restoration of Heavy Freight 2-8-2T 7202
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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