Singing the praises of Didcot’s Wantage Tramway engine

THE Great Western Railway’s George England 0-4-0WT Wantage Tramway No. 5 Shannon is to be displayed outside the engine shed at Didcot Railway Centre in its new maroon livery on July 14.

The occasion is a repeat visit by the Shannon Express Male Barbershop Harmony Chorus which is based in Potton, where the locomotive originally ran on the Sandy & Potton Railway.

In 1857, the locomotive was named Shannon after the frigate commanded by Captain William Peel VC who had the railway built as a private venture. The Sandy & Potton was soon taken over by the LNWR as part of the Oxford to Cambridge ‘Varsity Line’.

Wantage Tramway No.5 Shannon in its new livery. FRANK DUMBLETON

The engine was acquired by the two-mile Wantage Tramway which carried passengers and freight between Wantage and Wantage Road station on the GWR. Opened in October 1875, the tramway closed to passengers in 1925 and to goods traffic in 1945.

The event will provide an opportunity to see and photograph the locomotive in the new livery in the open air. It is normally kept inside the engine shed.

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