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It was withdrawn by BR as surplus to requirements, from Llanelly depot in 1963 after completing just over 1,300,000 miles in service and sent for scrapping to Woodham Bros.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.
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|Didcot Railway Centre||Static display||Great Western Society|
- 4073 Caerphilly Castle
- 4079 Pendennis Castle
- 5029 Nunney Castlembe
- 5043 Earl of Mount Edgecumbe
- 5080 Defiant (Ogmore Castle)
- 7027 Thornbury Castle
- 7029 Clun Castle