A 113-year-old engine is to return home to the STEAM Museum this summer. The National Railway Museum will transfer GWR locomotive, Class 2800 No. 2818 to STEAM on Tuesday, 21 August.
Swindon’s award-winning railway museum will close for the day to accommodate the move, and staff are extremely excited about the homecoming.
STEAM Curator Frances Yeo said: “We’ve been working closely with the National Railway Museum to secure the transfer of the locomotive which will soon be standing beside STEAM’s Station Platform.
“The locomotive will take the place of 7800 Class No. 7821 Ditcheat Manor, which is moving to the display area in the Designer Outlet Centre on the same day.
“Staff and volunteers at STEAM are very excited to be welcoming 2818 to Swindon. This is the first complete locomotive to be owned by STEAM and it will arrive in very good condition.
“Such rare locomotive moves at both STEAM and the Designer Outlet are going to be wonderful sights to see for all those coming to watch.
"The return of 2818 to the site where it was built is a momentous occasion in Swindon's history and we are looking forward to having the locomotive on display here at STEAM.”
Designed by GWR chief mechanical engineer George Jackson Churchward, the 2800 class of heavy freight locomotives was hugely successful for the Great Western Railway.
Built in 1905, No. 2818 worked as a heavy goods carrier and was used during the First World War to transport coal for the Royal Navy.
Cllr Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council's Cabinet Member responsible for STEAM, said: “This is an important and historic moment for our town. No. 2818 will join the many iconic Swindon-built locomotives currently on display.
“We are very much looking forward to welcoming 2818 home. It is likely to be an emotional moment for many who come to see the move take place as well as those who come to visit the loco at STEAM once safely installed.
“2818’s homecoming will be a celebration of Swindon’s fantastic heritage.”
No. 2818 will arrive in Swindon by road low loader on Tuesday 21 August and the STEAM Museum will be closed for the day.
Andrew McLean, Assistant Director and Head Curator at the National Railway Museum, said: “The transfer of Churchward’s 2818 to STEAM ensures the locomotive’s positive long-term future in its Swindon birthplace.
"It is fitting that a member of one of the most successful of all Great Western Railway locomotive classes will become a star exhibit in a museum which is dedicated to telling the story of both the GWR and Swindon’s important place in Britain’s railway history.
“The locomotive will be seen and appreciated by thousands of visitors who may not have had the chance to travel to the North East of England where it was based before.”