2874 was built at Swindon in 1918 at a cost of £4,992 which rose to £6,193 with the inclusion of the tender.

It was initially allocated to Old Oak Common where it worked coal trains between London and Wales. Prior to the nationalisation of the railway in January 1948 it was based at Reading, Leamington Spa, Tyseley, Neath, Cardiff and Banbury

BR motive power depot allocations since 1948.

Date ArrivedDepot
January 1948Banbury
June 1948Stourbridge
October 1956Ebbw Junction
May 1956Cardiff Canton
December 1960Aberdare
November 1962Neath

The locomotive was withdrawn from service in May 1963 and sold for scrap to Woodham Brothers at Barry. It entered the scrapyard at Barry in July 1963 and stayed there until August 1987.

It left Barry having been purchased along with four other GWR locomotives (3855, 4253, 5668 and 5967 Bickmarsh Hall) following its purchase by Tony Rippingale and moved to the Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway. The five engines were stored out in the open here until 2007 when all except 5668 were put up for sale.

2874 was initially purchased by the West Somerset Railway in April 2008 but was subsequently purchased by the Dinmore Manor Locomotive Ltd in 2009. The Churchward 3,500 gallon tender was not part of the sale to the Dinmore Manor Locomotive Ltd and so it remained at the West Somerset Railway.

The owners, The 2874 Trust Limited which was formed by the Dinmore Manor Locomotive Ltd has started restoration work. Based on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway the restoration is being undertaken at Toddington works. In September 2016 the boiler was lifted off the frames.

There is a difference between 2874 and the others – early examples of the class were built with internal steam pipes but most were later modified to external and the later versions were all built to the later specification.  It is likely that 2874 will be the sole survivor of the class that will ever again run with its original, internal steam pipe configuration.

As the desire is to restore the locomotive to as near as possible to its original as built condition which includes restoring the wheel set to the Churchward original design. The wheel set that 2874 had on withdrawal from service was of the design fitted to the 2884 class from the 1930s onwards – twelve years after 2874 was completed. This objective is being achieved by swapping the driving wheelset with those on 3850 as it acquired a set of the original Churchward wheelsets when overhauled by BR.

In 2018 an agreement was drawn up under which Dinmore Manor Locomotive Ltd (DMLL) will fund much of the restoration work. DMLL will then operate the locomotive in conjunction with the owners and using the earnings generated to fund overhauls of 7820 Dinmore Manor and 3850. When the boiler certificate expires on 2874 the owners will then be responsible for its overhaul.

As a result of a grant of £57,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund the locomotive will be used as a basis for a skills training scheme. This will assist with the work on the bottom end of the locomotive. The training will include areas such as welding, removal and salvage of seized, rusted and worn out parts without damaging to either these or surrounding structures.

The wheelsets of 2874 were sent to South Devon Engineering in late 2019 and the re-tyring and work on crank pins and journals is progressing with a likely finish to the work in early summer 2020. The wheelsets were returned in August 2020.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
Gloucestershire Warwickshire RailwayUnder restorationThe 2874 Trust Ltd
2874 arriving at Gloucester from Swindon – 1963
2874 at Woodhams scrapyard in Barry – May 1987
2874 at Blaenavon – June 2001
2874 in Woodham’s scrapyard at Barry – October 2009
2874 at Toddington on the Gloucester Warwickshire Railway – July 2015
2874 at Toddington on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway – September 2018
2874 under restoration at Toddington on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway – October 2022

Back to 2800

Back to GWR

Back to Locomotives