Two celebrated locomotives have made a timely return to Swindon as part of celebrations to mark the birth of the town’s railway works, 175 years ago.
King George V (KGV) arrived at midday on 11 November and City of Truro will arrive later in the day, having made the long journey by road to Swindon, returning on loan from the world-class National Collection housed at the National Railway Museum in York.
In order to accommodate both locomotives, current loans Lode Star and the Diesel Railcar have returned to the National Railway Museum.
KGV made progress into the town from the M4, polished as if the locomotive had just emerged from the NMR, rather than being transported several hundred miles on a low loader. With inches to spare the iconic locomotive passed under Bruce Street bridges on its way to Churchward.
KGV, designed by Charles B Collet was the GWR’s most powerful 4-6-0 engine. It was shipped to the USA in August 1927 to feature in the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad centenary celebrations. So impressed were the Americans by the sheer power of Swindon built technology that a commemorative bell was presented and mounted on the locomotive.
City of Truro, designed by George Jackson Churchward, was built at Swindon Works in 1903. She was the first British locomotive to travel in excess of 100 miles per hour on 9 May 1904, one of the world’s first to do so.
Steam is closed for the reorganisation of its exhibits and will re-open to the public on Saturday 21 November. The two locomotives will be unveiled in their new temporary home at a VIP ceremony to officially launch the Swindon 175 celebrations on 18 November.
New exhibitions will also open at Steam to mark the anniversary, complemented by a range of events organised by schools and community groups which reflect the achievements of the town over the last 175 years.
Organisations which want to get involved in marking the town’s history are asked to mail: email@example.com
Keep up to date at www.swindon175.com