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Saturday 26th August 2023 17:00-22:30 Didcot Parkway Station, Station Rd, Didcot OX11 7NR

An evening of steam photography at Didcot featuring GWR Lady of Legend, Pendennis Castle and Trojan

We are delighted to offer an evening of Summer photography with three Great Western Railway locomotives in steam around the site and on shed featuring 2999 Lady of Legend, 4079 Pendennis Castle and 1340 Trojan

£70.00

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About this event

Join us for an evening of Summer railway photography featuring no fewer than three Great Western locomotives in steam around the site and on shed in their natural habitat! We will have No.2999 Lady of Legend and No.4079 Pendennis Castle throughout and, for the earlier part of the evening, No.1340 Trojan on shunting duties. At some point, we intend to turn Lady of Legend to face chimney first into the shed, and we will also have a supporting cast of other locos from the Society’s collection appearing as background. Being Summer, the greater part of this event will be outdoors taking advantage of any natural lighting available before the final hour inside the shed. Should we be lucky enough to have a sunny evening, the opportunities will be excellent.

The shed at Didcot is a rare and unspoilt survivor from the heyday of the Great Western Railway. The original shed was built to service broad gauge locomotives working from Bristol to London (the route was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and completed in 1841) and into Oxford. The broad gauge became standard gauge in 1892 and in 1932, a new four-road engine shed was constructed on the site of the original. This was operational until the Summer of 1965, a few months before the end of Western Region steam, and as the shed fell vacant, so it was offered to the then fledgling Great Western Society to house their first three locomotives and other items of historic rolling stock which were the foundation of the fantastic collection based at Didcot today.

Lady of Legend represents the culmination of a 45-year ambition of the Great Western Society to recreate a missing link in the development of the Swindon motive power fleet - to recreate a Saint Class 4-6-0, the last of which were scrapped in 1953. No.4942 Maindy Hall formed the basis of the project, having been purchased from the grasp of the scrap merchant specifically for this purpose and many new components were manufactured including three sets of driving wheels to the correct size of six foot, eight inches. The award-winning project was completed in 2019 and the handsome locomotive has made an impressive contribution to the story of the GWR which the Society seeks to demonstrate. No.2999 has taken the next number in line to the last scrapped member of the class and Lady of Legend was the winning suggestion in a competition to select an appropriate name for the new locomotive.

Pendennis Castle is a member of the 4073 Class of locomotives and is one of the first ten Great Western ‘Castles’ to be built at Swindon Works from where it emerged in early March 1924. The following year 4079 was loaned to the London and North Eastern Railway for comparison trials with the LNER’s A1 Class Pacifics; the Castle performed favourably in terms of both power and efficiency, hauling 16-coach loads on the East Coast Main Line working out of London’s Kings Cross station. After this, it was displayed at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in London along with ‘A1’ Class Flying Scotsman - a notice displayed next to 4079 proclaimed it to be the most powerful passenger express locomotive in the country. The two appeared together again in 1989 in the unlikely setting of Perth in Australia as part of that country’s bi-centennial celebrations. Back on GWR territory, 4079 was based at Old Oak Common to work services from London Paddington to South Wales and the West Country. After the Second World War, depots included Hereford, Gloucester, Stafford Road, Taunton, Swindon, Bristol Bath Road and finally Bristol St Philip’s Marsh from November 1963 and from where 4079 was withdrawn in May 1964. Pendennis Castle was purchased for private preservation from British Railways Western Region and was based at several locations including Southall and Carnforth before being sold to the Hammersley Iron company of Western Australia. After working part of the Great Western Envoy rail tour from Birmingham to Didcot, the locomotive emigrated in 1977 for use by the Pibara Railways Historical Society on excursion trains, being transferred from Avonmouth Docks to Sydney, Australia. The Castle, renamed River Fe (River of Iron), worked ‘Down Under’ until October 1994 when it was found to need extensive and expensive boiler repairs and was put into storage. The parent company of Hammersley Iron, Rio Tinto, generously arranged to donate 4079 to the Great Western Society in 1999 and the locomotive arrived back in the United Kingdom via Perth and Avonmouth in 2000. The Society began what would be a lengthy overhaul to working condition in 2005, and No.4079 was officially recommissioned in 2022.

No.1340 Trojan is diminutive compared with the larger locos, but nevertheless is perfectly formed! Dating from 1897, it was built in Bristol as No.1386 by the Avonside Engine Company for Dunn and Shute to work in Newport Town Dock and was subsequently purchased by the Alexandra Docks Company. When the latter was absorbed by the Great Western Railway upon grouping in 1923, the locomotive received its current number of 1340. The GWR used the loco at a number of locations until withdrawal from Cardiff in 1932, when 1340 was sold into industrial service. Working first for Netherseal Colliery of Burton-on-Trent and later for Alders (Tamworth) Limited, the loco arrived at Didcot for preservation in 1968. Its first restoration in preservation was completed in 2002 and 1340’s most recent overhaul was completed at Locomotive Maintenance Services of Loughborough in March 2021.

With three locomotives in steam, this should provide us with an excellent evening of photography set against one of the most authentic GWR backdrops it is possible to imagine. We are looking forward to an enjoyable event and hope to see you in Oxfordshire for our Summer steam triple.

Event requirements

Equipment

  • Spare batteries
  • Camera
  • Lenses

Knowledge

  • All levels welcome

Fitness

  • Medium

Other essentials

  • Sturdy outdoor shoes

Event location