Great Western Railway Castle Class No.5029 Nunney Castle was built at Swindon Works in 1934, and takes the name of a small castle near Frome, Somerset.
The locomotive was used in many publicity and “life on the railway” type of photographs. During the first day of the World War II Evacuations the locomotive hauled trains carrying children being taken from London to the safety of the countryside. Nunney Castle was also used to haul the Royal Train in October 1957 from Paddington to Gloucester.
5029 was initially allocated to Old Oak Common MPD (PDN/81A) in West London where it was to spend most of its working life. The engine moved to Worcester in 1958, then had spells at Shrewsbury, Newton Abbot and Laira before a final transfer in December 1962 took it to Cardiff East Dock, where it was to remain until being withdrawn along with other members of its class in December 1963.
Nunney Castle was sold in 1964 to Woodham Bros. at Barry, arriving at the famous scrap yard in the June where it was to languish for 12 years. 5029 was in fact the last steam locomotive delivered to Barry Scrap yard by rail. It was rescued in May 1976 when it was the last Castle class locomotive to leave Barry.
When originally purchased from Woodham’s, 5029 was purchased by a private individual, Warwick Ormandy, along with pannier tank 3738. The locos were sold by him to a consortium including the GWS before any work on 5029 had started. This arrangement changed in the mid 1990’s when 5029 became privately owned. The locomotive was restored from scrap yard condition at Didcot and returned to service in 1990. Since then it has been a regular performer on the mainline and become a favourite with the crews that have operated it.
In the late 1990’s the engine became due for its overhaul which was carried out by Ian Riley Engineering in Bury, Lancs. It was during this overhaul 5029 was fitted with air braking, (while still maintaining the original vacuum system). The tender was also modified to give a larger water capacity. Both of these modifications were made to enable 5029 to increase its operational capacity on the mainline. The locomotive was returned to the main line in 2000. TPWS (Train Protection Warning System) was fitted in 2002 and was the first Great Western locomotive to be equipped.
In 2005 it was decided to inspect the engine at Tyseley Locomotive Works, while the locomotive was still in good running order with its current main line “ticket” still valid. The intention at that stage being that 5029 would be undergoing an Intermediate Overhaul, particularly as some of the work would be in the nature of refurbishment and not a replacement of parts. However after further work it was decided, with the full agreement of the present owner, that the work would be a virtual heavy general overhaul. The bulk of the engineering work was carried out by Tyseley Locomotive Works, with the essential ancillary work being carried out by the Support Group.
At the beginning of 2008 the loco was virtually complete again and had a successful test run, repainted into its present post nationalisation 1948 livery, and in April 2008 was passed for main line service.
5029 is certified for mainline operation and had a valid boiler certificate which expired in 2017 although it last ran in 2015.
It is undergoing extensive boiler repairs at LNWR Crewe but is unlikely to be back in service in 2018.
In 2020 it was revealed that as part of the boiler work at Crewe the Collett superheater would be replaced by a later pattern three-row version. It is felt that this should enable the locomotive to deal with the lower quality of coal that it is now required to burn.
|Home Base||Current Status||Owner|
|Crewe||Under overhaul||Jeremy Hosking|
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