5051 Drysllwyn Castle (Earl Bathurst)

5051 Drsywllyn Castle at Didcot - November 1987.jpg

Most of the Castles were named after castles in the Great Western’s territory, 12 after second world war aeroplanes, and 24 carried miscellaneous names. In 1937 it was decided, some say demanded, by certain Earls that new small engines intended to carry their names should not do so, instead 21 ‘Castles’, between 5043 and 5063, were commandeered and re-named.

5051 was one of those which lost its name to an Earl. Built at Swindon in May 1936 at a cost of £4,848, as Drysllwyn Castle it became Earl Bathurst in August 1937, the name it carried for the rest of its GWR and BR life. Both names are regularly used on the locomotive at Didcot. Stationed almost exclusively at Landore (Swansea) depot, for working to London and the Midlands, it was rarely seen elsewhere. It moved to Neath in 1961 before moving to Llanelly in 1963

It was withdrawn by BR as surplus to requirements, from Llanelly depot in 1963 after completing just over 1,300,000 miles in service and sent for scrapping to Woodham Bros. of Barry. It was rescued from the scrapyad by John Mynors, a Great Western Society member, and brought to Didcot in February 1970.

The cost buying the locomotive from Woodham Brothers was £2,500 on top of which there was a £500 fee payable to British Railways for towing it to Didcot. The journey to Didcot was limited to a maximum speed of 25mph and stops every 25 miles to inspect the locomotive. At that time dead locomotives were not allowed to be towed through the Severn Tunnel so the train was routed via Gloucester and via Sapperton to re-join the main South Wales line at Swindon.

Out shopped in 1980 it took part in the Rocket 150 celebrations at Rainhill in May of that year. It then ran many main line specials between (in the early years with Didcot’s vintage train) until 1986 when the main line ticket ran out. The engine then ran at Didcot until the boiler certificate ran out in 1990.

Following a second overhaul it was returned to service, and enjoyed runs out on the mainline once more, and visits to other preserved railways as well as Didcot Railway Centre duties. In 2008 the latest boiler certificate expired and the locomotive is now on static display until such time as a further overhaul can take place although there are no immediate plans to return it to steam.

It has carried both the Drysllwyn Castle and Earl Bathurst names at different times.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
Didcot Railway CentreStatic displayGreat Western Society
5051 Drsywllyn Castlet in Sonning cutting – Circa 1935
5051 Earl Bathurst at Old Oak Common .jpg
5051 Earl Bathurst at Old Oak Common
5051 Earl of Bathurst at Cardiff General
5051 Earl Bathurst at Newport High Street with the Paddington to Swansea South Wales Pullman – July 1961 Photograph by M Macleur
5051 Earl Bathurst passing Cardiff Canton shed with a train bound for Manchester – 1962. Photo by John Wiltshire
5051 Earl of Bathhurst in Woodhams scrapyard at Barry waiting to leave the scrapyard – 1970
5051 Earl Bathurst at Didcot – August 1975
5051 Drysllwyn Castle at Didcot Railway Centre – March 1981
5051 Drysllyn Castle leaving Ludlow Tunnel - April 1983.jpg
5051 Drysllyn Castle leaving Ludlow Tunnel – April 1983
5051 Earl Bathhurst running as Drysllwyn Castle leaving Hereford for Swindon – October 1985
5051 Drsywllyn Castle at Didcot - November 1987.jpg
5051 Drsywllyn Castle at Didcot – November 1987
5051 Drsywllyn Castle at Westbourne Park – Circa 1990
5051 Drysllwyn Castle at Gloucester Central – 1995
5051 Earl Bathurst at Didcot – May 2010
5051 Earl Bathhurst at the Didcot Railway Centre - April 2011.jpg
5051 Earl Bathhurst at the Didcot Railway Centre – April 2011
5051 Drysllwyn Castle at Didcot – June 2011
5051 Dryswllyn Castle (Earl Bathurst) at Didcot – February 2018

Back to 4073 Castle class

Back to GWR

Back to Locomotives