Edwardian Record-Breaking Locomotive Visits GWR
15 March 2004
The 101-year-old record-breaking locomotive, no. 3440 City of Truro owned by the National Railway Museum, will be re-commissioned at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWR) on Saturday 3rd of April.
A brief ceremony will take place at the railway’s Toddington station at 11:00, before departing for Cheltenham Race Course with its first public train. Re-launching the locomotive will be Andrew Scott, Head of the National Railway Museum.
This grand old lady of the former Great Western Railway, which is said to have been the first locomotive to smash the 100 mph barrier in May 1904, is expected to operate GWR services between Toddington and Cheltenham Race Course throughout April. This includes Easter week and ‘Day Out with Thomas’ on the 24th and 25th of April. It then departs for a series of runs on the main line before returning to Toddington at the end of May for a further short spell, before going back to York in June for the Railfest 2004 celebrations marking the bi-centenary of rail.
City of Truro has been the subject of a £130,000 overhaul to put it back into working order.
The overhaul is the initiative of the National Railway Museum (NRM), which teamed up with Steam Railway Magazine, whose readers generously responded to a national appeal for funds; the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, the Bodmin & Wenford Railway and other representatives from the railway preservation world to re-awaken this celebrated centenarian.
Andrew Scott, Head of the NRM, said: “Seeing this wonderful locomotive steaming again, a century after it raced into the history books, is tremendously thrilling. It represented the last development of Victorian locomotive technology when it was turned out of Swindon works in 1903.
“But at the time, trains were getting heavier and new, more powerful engines were being introduced. City of Truro was soon taken off the Great Western’s fastest expresses and if it wasn’t for its astonishing high-speed achievement, would probably have been scrapped along with its classmates at the end of the 1920’s,” says Mr Scott.
He continues, “Work on restoration of City of Truro would not have been possible without the support of our partners. We are tremendously grateful to them for helping to make our aspiration to see it running for this important centenary become a reality. I hope as many people as possible have the opportunity to enjoy seeing the engine running once again.
The chassis of City of Truro has been overhauled at the NRM’s workshops in York while repairs to the boiler were carried out at the Flour Mill locomotive workshops at Bream in the Forest of Dean. Reassembly was completed at York and it steamed for the first time at the end of February. In March the engine arrived by road at Toddington, where final work to make it fit to run has been completed.
Ian Crowder, the GWR’s Commercial Director, says: “The 3rd of April will be very special day for the GWR and for everyone who has made this day possible. It’s a great honour for us to host such a celebrated engine at such an important anniversary. Most people recognise names like Mallard and Flying Scotsman as 100mph-plus record breakers - but a century ago, City of Truro led the way by showing just what steam power could do.
But, he says: “City of Truro will be limited to 25mph on our line - but that’s quite fast enough to appreciate the grace and elegance of this remarkable survivor from the days when steam locomotives were the fastest machines on the planet.”