The glamour of a named main line express locomotive will be a highlight of a Kent & East Sussex Railway gala in May, when GWR-designed, BR-built No. 7822 Foxcote Manor makes a guest appearance.
Built at Swindon in December 1950, the 4-6-0’s first-ever visit to the KESR will include starring in a 1940s weekend on May 20-21, one of the line’s most popular annual events.
The visit has been sponsored in part by the railway’s Guest Engine Club, which was formed by volunteers 18 months ago to assist with the hire of guest locomotives. In the case of Foxcote Manor, the club is paying the high cost of transporting the engine from the Llangollen Railway, where it is based, to Kent.
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No. 7822, one of nine members of the 30-strong class to have been saved for preservation, was built to the 1930s’ design of GWR Chief Mechanical Engineer, Charles Collett. Named after a Grade II-listed 17th century Gloucestershire house, the loco was withdrawn from Shrewsbury (6D) in November 1965.
During its 15 years of BR service it was a ‘Cambrian Coast Express’ regular on the Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth route – an image that will bring misty-eyed nostalgia to GWR aficionados – and also reached the heights in railway terms by hauling the Royal Train in 1963.
Read more in Issue 225 of Heritage Railway – out now!