1340 Alexandra Dock Railway 0-4-0ST

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Power ClassificationUnclassified
Designer Avonside Engine Company
CompanyAlexandra Dock Railway
Weight22t 17cwt
Driving Wheels3ft 0ins
Boiler Pressure160psi
CylindersOutside – 14in x 20in
Tractive Effort11,100lbf
Valve GearStephenson (slide valve)

1340 was built in 1897 by the Avonside Engine Company of Bristol (Works No 1386) and designed to work on the tight curves of a dockland railway. Its first owners were Messrs Dunn & Shute of Newport Town Dock but it was purchased in 1903 by Alexandra Dock Railway. This company owned about 100 miles of dockland sidings in the Newport area and a passenger line that ran for ten miles. The Alexandra Dock Railway was absorbed into the GWR in 1923 where it was given the GWR number 1340 which was the first time that it had carried a number.

1340 moved around GWR territory (including Oswestry and Greenford, London) but was mainly based at Cardiff Cathays and Radyr depots.

It was withdrawn from service at Cardiff in 1932 and sold for industrial use to Netherseal colliery in Burton-on-Trent. In 1947 it was sold again to Alders (Tamworth) Ltd.

The engine was saved for preservation after being purchased by John True who later bequeathed it to the Great Western Society.

After several years of negotiation 1340 arrived at Didcot in 1968 where it took many years to restore it to steam again. The main problem was the boiler as the original was in very poor condition and was scrapped at Didcot. A substitute boiler was purchased and sent to Chatham for modification but the work was never completed there before the stripped down boiler was returned to Didcot where it was rebuilt.

The restoration at Didcot reused the original inner copper fire box and made a new outer steal fire box but reused a barrel from a Peckett boiler that was being used as a green house boiler. The rest was scrapped.

1340 entered traffic for the first time in preservation in 2002 and was operational until the boiler certificate expired in 2011. Since then it is on static displayed until it can be overhauled.

In November 2016 the locomotive was sent to David Wright’s Locomotive Maintenance Services in Loughborough for contract overhaul with a view to having it steam again in 2017. As the boiler the locomotive received in 2002 when it was first restored was virtually new little work was anticipated on the boiler.

A delay to its return to steam was experienced due to additional boiler work being required. It is anticipated that it will now be back in steam for the main 2018 season.

The contract overhaul of the locomotive at Locomotive Maintenance services of Loughborough was delayed due to problems sourcing the copper for the firebox. The supplier of the copper waited until there was a sufficiently large enough order to make it worthwhile to produce the copper to the specification required. The hope was then that the locomotive would be back at Didcot in 2019.

It was revealed in May 2019 that the locomotive needed a new firebox which was estimated to cost £50,000. As a result the locomotive is unlikely to steam again before the end of 2019.

By April 2021 the locomotive had been overhauled at a cost of over £200,000. It thus became the oldest working GWR locomotive in preservation.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
Didcot Railway CentreOperationalGreat Western Society Limited
1340 at Alders Paper Mill – circa 1967
1340 at Alders Paper Mill – circa 1969
1338 and 1340 at unknown location and date. Photo by John Wiltshire
1340 at Didcot – February 2004
1340 at Didcot – May 2010
1340 at Didcot – January 2011
1340 at Didcot – January 2011
1340 at Didcot – August 2011
1340 at Didcot – May 2016
1340 at Didcot – May 2021
1340 at Didcot Railway Centre – July 2021
1340 at Didcot Railway Centre – September 2022

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