Built at Swindon in 1936, as 4866, at a cost of £2,247 which included £484 for the boiler. This was the first of four boilers that the locomotive would have during its 31 years of railway ownership. The current boiler was fitted during overhaul at Swindon in 1956. It was withdrawn in 1963 having covered nearly 650,000 miles during its working life.
Shortly before the Second World War, 4866 achieved some notoriety. Whilst standing in Newton Abbot Station its crew saw a train bearing down on them on their track. They set the engine in motion, the fireman jumped and the driver was flung off with the impact. 4866 did not hang around, and was routed driverless on to the Kingswear line where it ran on for seven miles until purposely derailed between Torquay and Paignton.
1466 was allocated to West Country sheds all its life. First allocated to Newton Abbott in 1936, it moved between there, Ashburton and Exeter for the next few years, until being reallocated to At Blazey in 1939, presumably to work the Fowey branch.
Throughout 1940 it was at St Blazey, Moretonhampstead and Ashburton. From 1941 until 1961 it was shared between Newton Abbott, Moretonhampstead and Ashburton apart from a month at Exeter in 1945. It worked its last train on the Ashburton branch on 2nd November 1958 (with 1470) and then on Morehampstead line on 28th February 1959.
With the closure of the South Devon lines, 1466 was transferred to Exeter in 1961. Here it was often seen on the Exe Valley trains, although it was also noted on the Hemyock and Tiverton branches. The Exe Valley line closed in October 1963 and 1466 was transferred for the final time to Taunton on the same day. It was officially withdrawn from Taunton on 28th December 1963 with a total mileage recorded of 728,230.
The first moves to preserve 1466 began in 1961 when a letter in The Railway Magazine invited donations for the preservation of a 1400 class locomotive. This led to the formation of the 48xx Preservation Society which had its inaugural meeting in May 1962. This then became the Great Western Preservation Society and eventually the Great Western Society in June 1963.
Fundraising continued during 1962 and 1963 until a shortlist of candidate locomotives was reduced to 1450 and 1466. 1450 was perhaps considered to be the favourite but as it was unlikely to be available for about another year and funds were available it was felt safer to go for 1466. 1466 was then purchased for £750 (including delivery) and it arrived at Totnes Quay from Taunton on 18th March 1964. It was first steamed under Great Western Society ownership the following month. Auto coach number 231 was purchased later in 1964 for £300. 1466 ran at a number of evens before moving to Buckfastleigh in January 1966.
At this time it was thought that the stock owned by the Great Western Society would be used on the Dart Valley Railway (now the South Devon Railway) when it opened but it was later felt that the society would have to relinquish too much control on its stock once the Dart Valley Railway was up and running. Since 6998 Burton Agnes Hall and several coaches at Totnes no further space was available there and another depot had been set up at Taplow for 6106 and coaches. With the impending closure of Taplow goods yard and the lack of progress with the Devon Valley Railway 1466 along with 6998 and coaches were moved to Didcot under their own steam in December 1967.
During 1968 1466 ran with auto coach 231 a couple of times on the Cholsey – Wallingford branch before British Railways banned steam trains later in the year.
1466 was steamed for the first public open day at Didcot in May 1969 with rides given in the auto coach. This event was repeated in September.
Following an internal steam pipe collapse during hydraulic boiler testing in 1970 the locomotive was out of action for several months.
Following the lifting of the steam ban by BR 1466 did a few trips on branch lines before having a full overhaul which started in 1979 following the earlier removal of the boiler, cab and tanks. The boiler was re-tubed and all the firebox steel side stays and crown stays replaced. As a result of ultrasonic testing showing some thinning in several areas in the boiler the areas affected were built up with welds. The rear section of the main frames was badly wasted so it had to be replaced, the rear dragbox rebuilt and about eighty percent of the bunker had to be replaced. The side tanks also received attention with some lower sections replaced. The driving axleboxes were refurbished and new bearings fitted to the trailing radial axle. The valve spindles were refurbished, coupling rod bearings remetalled and new cladding sheets fitted.
After a repaint into post-war livery, it was back in traffic by August 1981.
In 1983 1466 was used along with auto coach 231 to take the retiring BR chairman, Peter Parker, from Didcot station to the Great Western Society premises at Didcot for a farewell event arranged by the Western Region. It also made visits to the Kent and East Sussex Railway and the Llangollen Railway as well as being used for filming for the television programme Blue Peter.
1466 received some new boiler tubes early in 1989 but was withdrawn again for a full overhaul in autumn 1989. The overhaul commenced in 1990 but apart from re-tubing the boiler the only attention required was to the foundation ring rivets and the firebox seam rivets. Following this the engine was repainted in BR lined green and returned to traffic in 1993.
In 1995 it began travelling again and visited Chinnor and Princess Risborough, the Dean Forest, the Severn Valley and the South Devon railways. In 1997 it was taken out of service for firebox repairs and having the driving wheels tyres turned and a spare wheelset fitted. At this time it also received a new chimney as the existing one was very thin.
It was back in service in 1999, repainted in plain green with roundel and renumbered 4866.
1466 was withdrawn from service in 2000 due to the condition of its foundation ring, and is now in the queue for its third major overhaul in preservation. Mechanically the engine is in reasonable condition, but it is known that a new backplate, firebox side plating and possibly a new boiler barrel will be needed. Until the locomotive is dismantled it cannot be certain exactly how much the final cost will be, but one estimate is around £150,000.
In June 2013 1466 was repainted into BR black livery in connection with a series of photo-charters.
It is planned to begin an overhaul of the locomotive in 2018 with a view to having it operational again in 2021. The cost of the overhaul is thought to be of the order of £200,000.
In September 2018 a contract was awarded to Western Steam Engineering Ltd at the Dean Forest Railway. The cost of the overhaul was then estimated to be in the region of £300,000.
The locomotive was transported to Western Steam Engineering Ltd at the beginning of December 2019.
In November 2019 it was reported that the aim was to have the locomotive back in traffic at Didcot in 2021.
|Home Base||Current Status||Owner|
|Didcot Railway Centre||Under overhaul||Great Western Society|