Built at Swindon Works in August 1917.
5322 was a new locomotive when it was one of the eleven members of the class transported to France during The First World War in the service of the Railway Operating Division of the British Army for hauling munitions and hospital trains. There it was painted in War Department livery and given the number ROD 5322. Demobbed in 1919 at Chester it returned to the GWR fleet untill it was withdrawn from service in April 1964.
Its early service in BR saw it moving on a frequent basis between Andover and Swindon until in March 1953 it was transferred to Oxford. In August 1956 it moved to Didcot and in December 1958 to Reading before going to Tyseley in June 1959. In August 1959 it was back at Swindon where it had left in March 1953. Its stay at Swindon was short and it was transferred to Pontypool Road in October 1959 where it stayed until withdrawn from service in August 1964. Whilst at Pontypool Road 5322 spent six months in store.
On withdrawal from Pontypool Road shed in April 1964 it was sold for scrap to Woodham Bros of Barry in South Wales where it was the sole surviving early 4300 class. The first Barry locomotive to be subject to a preservation fund, it was the second locomotive (but the first ex-Great Western) to leave Woodham’s. 5322 thus ended up in preservation as the sole early 4300 class to be preserved.
Whilst 5322 was the second locomotive to be purchased from Barry it was the first to be the subject of negotiations as early as 1965 but the purchase appeal did not succeed.
It was acquired by a Didcot Railway Society member and towed to Caerphilly in 1969. There, a small but devoted band of members of the Society’s South Wales Group restored it, in the open, to working order.It steamed again in December 1970 and moved under its own steam again in May 1971.
After moving to Didcot (It was based there from July 1944 until May 1945) in 1973, 5322 continued to be used on open days until around 1975. The owner at that time believed that items of historical value should not be restored, but maintained in the condition they are in. This meant that the engine stood as it was, static display only.
Following the death of the owner in 1979 the locomotive was purchased by the Great Western Society. A fund was then started to restore the engine.
Thus since the early 90s various bits have been overhauled, the cab was completely refurbished, the wheels and motion have been tended to, the boiler has been removed and the tender stripped down. Slowly the engine was returned to its 1919 appearance until she was finally ready to return to traffic in November 2008.
In November 2011 the locomotive was disguised as Russian locomotive and starred in a film version of Anna Karenina. In May 2012 it was turned out in BR black livery having spent time earlier as ROD5322.
In the summer of 2014 5322 was taken out of service at Didcot Railway Centre with boiler problems and it is now on static display there.
|Home Base||Current Status||Owner|
|Didcot Railway Centre||On static display||Great Western Society|