‘Gifted’ National Collection GWR 2-8-0 locomotive back in its Swindon birthplace at STEAM museum

THE controversial move of the National Collection’s GWR 2-8-0 No. 2818 to Swindon’s STEAM museum was due to have taken place on Tuesday, August 21.

The National Railway Museum was criticised in some quarters for gifting the 113-year-old Churchward heavy freight locomotive to the museum, after it has been on static display at the Locomotion museum in Shildon for several years.

GWR 2-8-0 No. 2818 outside the Locomotion museum at Shildon, prior to returning to home territory. NRM

At the same time, the museum came under fire from some commentators for gifting LSWR T3 4-4-0 No. 563 to the Swanage Railway. That loco has since been dismantled at Bill Parker’s Flour Mill workshop at Bream, in the Forest of Dean – a renowned expert in the restoration of Victorian locomotives – to assess its potential to be returned to working order.

However, an ‘arms length’ clause in the gifting arrangement ensures if either venue wants to offload the item at a later date, it has to offer it back to the National Collection first.

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.

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