4953 Pitchford Hall

Pitchford Hall was built at Swindon in 1929 for a cost of £4,375 and was based at a wide variety of sheds all over the GWR network, until withdrawal in May 1963 after covering 1,344,464 miles.

Pitchford Hall was built at Swindon in August 1929 at a cost of £4,375, and was first allocated to Bristol, Bath Road shed. Latterly in August 1950 it was transferred to Cardiff Canton and fitted with BR type piston valves and liners in February 1956 but reverted back to WR standard within two years. In March 1959 it was allocated to Swindon and then transferred from Cardiff Canton to Cardiff East Dock shed in September 1962. its last years were spent at Cardiff East Dock before being withdrawn in May 1963 having covered 1,344,464 miles, and was sent to Woodham’s Brothers Scrapyard in Barry in November 1963.

In October1963 4953 went to Woodham Brothers scrap yard in Barry

Pitchford Hall was the 150th departure from Barry in February 1984, when it was purchased by Dr John Kennedy and taken to Tyseley Locomotive Works where a comprehensive overhaul was undertaken for a reportedly almost £1m. 4953 moved again under its own power in February 2004, making its first public appearance in 42 years at Crewe in September 2005, being seen by over 40,000 people. 4953e currently carries the “transitional” livery of 1945-48 with “GW” on the tender, unlined and complete with smokebox number.

Pitchford Hall returned to the mainline in December 2005, and operated a number of special mainline charter trains during 2007 and 2009, but has also visited a number of heritage railways, including West Somerset Railway, Llangollen (where it double-headed with City of Truro), Mid Hants Railway (standing in for King Edward II) and Great Central Railway, where it has hauled passenger as well as charter freight and even demonstration Travelling Post Office trains to the delight of visitors.

After the 2010 Tyseley Locomotive Works steam, the locomotive was moved to the Great Central Railway. It then visited the Llangollen Railway, double heading with GWR 3717 City of Truro, and operating at the West Somerset Railway before returning to Loughborough.

In 2011, after working the Great Central Railway Winter Steam Gala, it visited the Mid Hants Railway, before returning to the GCR. It was sold in late 2011 by Dr John Kennedy to Roger Wright for use on the Epping Ongar Railway, though it remained at the GCR until April 2012, when it was moved to the Epping Ongar Railway in time for the line’s opening in late May 2012. The locomotive remained in service there until summer 2013 when it was withdrawn and is now undergoing a routine 10 year overhaul by Locomotive Maintenance Services at Loughborough.

It had been anticipated that 4953 would be operational on the Epping Ongar Railway during 2018. This turned out to be optimistic but by October 2019 the locomotive had been moved to the Great Central Railway for running in. It is expected that the locomotive will return to the Epping & Ongar Railway at some time.

In November 2019 it was disclosed that the Dartmouth Steam Railway was in discussion to hire the locomotive for a two year period starting in early 2020.

In February 2022 it was confirmed by the Epping & Ongar Railway that the locomotive had been put up for sale.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
Epping and Ongar RailwayOperational
4953 Pitchford Hall running down the gradient between Hinton Admiral and Christchurch on the service from York to Bournemouth – 1962
4953 Pitchford Hall in Woodham's scrapyard at Barry - July 1968.jpg
4953 Pitchford Hall in Woodham’s scrapyard at Barry – July 1968
4953 Pitchford Hall in Woodham’s scrapyard at Barry – c1980
4953 Pitchford Hall at Crewe Works Open Day – September 2005
4953 Pitchford Hall at Loughborough on the Great Central Railway – January 2011
4953 Pitchford Hall at Loughborough on the Great Central Railway – January 2012
4953 Pitchford Hall at Loughborough on the Great Central Railway – January 2012
4953 Pitchford Hall at Quorn & Woodhouse on the Great Central Railway – January 2012
4953 Pitchford Hall passing through Swithland Sidings on the Great Central Railway – February 2020

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