Tuesday 24 June 2014

‘Scene’ at the Great Western Society (GWS) facility at Didcot Part 3

A day out to Oxford mainly to see the buses (see elsewhere on my blog) also afforded me the time to catch the train from Oxford to Didcot where the ‘GWS’ are based. 


Although it was not a running day, there was plenty to interest me and from the assorted wagons on display, I have been able to make up a typical ‘Great Western Railway’ (GWR) Breakdown/Engineering train.


The first requirement is for a loco.


‘GWR’ No.5322 (formerly No. 8322)

A class 4300 2-6-0 Mogul dating of which 342 were built between 1911 and 1932.


No. 5322 was built in 1917 and was one of 11 loco’s of its class that went to France in The First World War where it operated for the Railway Operating Division in support of the British forces fighting there.


It was repatriated in 1919 and continued to serve the ‘GWR’ until it became 

‘British Railways” property at Nationalization.


Withdrawn in 1964 it was sent to ‘Woodhams’ scrapyard at Barry from where it was rescued for preservation in 1969. Originally stored at Caerphilly before coming to Didcot in 1973. Work on the loco continued from  the early 1990‘s being restored to its 1919 appearance. 


It re entered service in 2008 painted in the Army’s khaki colour scheme being returned to ‘BR’ black in 2012.




Breakdown trains by definition must always include a heavy crane. There are a number of cranes present on the site ranging from the small hand worked cranes up to the multi vehicle ‘loco lifters’.

One such is this,

 A Cowans Sheldon 50 ton steam breakdown crane. Built in 1930 for the LMS to order No. 5113 and is currently being overhauled.




A GWR 12 ton Hand Crane which entered service in 1894 or thereabouts having been ordered in November 1892.


This type of crane would have been used in goods yards.


It was acquired for preservation from Hackney Yard, Newton Abbot in the 1960’s.



ADW 537

3 ton hand crane. Built in 1899 at Swindon and now owned my the National Railway Museum. 




A 10 ton Ballast wagon built at Swindon in 1936 to diagram P.15. Part of the National Railway Museum’s collection.




Another Swindon built Ballast wagon dating from 1937 to diagram P.17




A ‘Tool van’ from the Signals & Telegraph department converted in 1952 from a former ‘Toad’ brake van. ‘Toad’ was the ‘GWR’s telephonic code name for brake van.


No. 47

Included in the make up of the train might well have been a ‘Riding Van’. These were used by the breakdown crew for traveling for messing facilities. Also the carriage of hand tools.


Built by the ‘GWR’ in 1908 at Swindon.




Of course we need a brake van for our train and though a bit battered 56400 will do nicely. This 16 tonner was built in 1900 at Swindon to diagram AA.3.




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