Latecomers boost Great Central’s Stoneleigh auction nameplate tally to 14

Three latecomers have swollen the number of main line steam nameplates at Great Central’s Stoneleigh auction on September 1 to 14. As reported in last month’s column, the sale was listed to offer 11 plates, headed by a GWR Star, a SR Battle of Britain, and an LMS Royal Scot.

At a late stage, however, three additions have been added to the sale – Wootton Hall from preserved GWR No. 4979, Madoqua from LNER B1 No. 61027, and Chale from Isle of Wight O2 class 0-4-4T W31.

The hall was built at Swindon in February 1930, withdrawn from Oxford (81F) in December 1963, and named after a 17th century building near Henley-in-Arden. It is owned by the Furness Railway Trust and currently awaits restoration at Ribble Steam Railway, Preston.

No. 61027 emerged from Darlington in May 1947 and was withdrawn from Sheffield Darnall (41A) in September 1962. It was named after a species of four small antelopes and features an unusual style of the letter ‘q’ on its nameplate, which Great Central Railwayana director and auctioneer Mike Soden believes may be unique to the loco.

W31 was built by the London & South Western Railway at Nine Elms works in south-west London in April 1890 as No. 180, and crossed to the Isle of Wight in May 1927.

There it survived until April 1967, being one of two that were retained after the end of steam on the island in December 1966 to work engineers’ train on the electrification of the Ryde to Shanklin line. W31 was cut up, but the other engine, W24 Calbourne, was preserved and is a popular member of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway fleet.

A selection of other latecomers in the auction are a cabside numberplate from GWR Dukedog 4-4-0 No. 9018 that was originally set to carry the name Earl of Birkenhead but never did so, a Brighton 1879 worksplate from an unidentified LBSCR locomotive, believed to be a Class D, E or E1, and a similarly unidentified Midland Railway 1903 plate. The auction is at Stoneleigh Park and starts at 10am.

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