Two flagship locomotives are to make a timely return to Swindon as part of celebrations to mark the birth of the town’s railway works.
King George V and City of Truro are part of the world-class National Collection housed at the National Railway Museum, and will make the long journey by road on low loaders to Swindon from the York-based museum early next month.
The engines are on loan from the National Railway Museum, and will arrive between 9 and 13 November to take pride of place at STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway in preparation for the town’s Swindon175 celebrations in 2016, which will honour Swindon’s railway heritage.
In order to accommodate both locomotives, current loans Lode Star and the Diesel Railcar are returning to the National Railway Museum in exchange. STEAM will be closed from Monday, 9 November and will re-open on Saturday, 21 November.
On 25 February 1841, GWR directors authorised the establishment of the railway works in Swindon, after the town was identified by Daniel Gooch as being the ideal place for GWR’s central repair works. Construction started immediately and a new Swindon was born.
As well as the return of the two locomotives, Swindon175 will see a year-long programme of events next year throughout the town to commemorate the 175-year anniversary and details will appear soon on www.swindon175.com
King George V (KGV) was designed by Charles B Collet and was the GWR’s most powerful 4-6-0 engine. KGV was the first ‘King’ Class built at Swindon Works in June 1927, and was shipped to the United States in August 1927 to feature in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s centenary celebrations.
Number 3440 City of Truro was designed by George Jackson Churchward and was built at the Swindon Works in 1903. She was the first British locomotive to travel in excess of 100 miles per hour (160.9 km/h) on 9 May 1904, and is one of world’s first to do so.
New exhibitions at STEAM to mark the anniversary of New Swindon and the huge role Sir Daniel Gooch played in creating the works and the town will also be held throughout the year.
Cllr Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for STEAM, said: “These two locomotives are symbols of Swindon’s heritage and a reminder of Swindon’s railway heyday. I am really chuffed the National Railway Museum has allowed us to exchange the locomotives and bring them home for our Swindon175 celebrations.
“They will take pride of place in STEAM as a tribute to all those who worked in the town’s railway works.”
Andrew McLean, Head Curator at the National Railway Museum said: “The National Railway Museum is pleased to lend King George V and City of Truro to STEAM to mark the 175th anniversary of Swindon’s historic railway works.
“These iconic engines are highlights of the extensive National Collection housed at the museum, and we look forward to seeing them assume starring roles in the upcoming celebrations of Swindon’s landmark anniversary.
“In the meantime, I’m sure our visitors will be delighted at the opportunity to view Lode Star and the Diesel Railcar, which will be back on display amongst the other locomotive legends in our Great Hall in York having been on loan to STEAM.”