5668 was built at Swindon in 1926 and spent its working life in and around being allocated initially to the Cathays shed in Cardiff where it worked the local passenger and freight services. After just over 20 years there it moved up to the Rhondda valley working services from there until 1961. It then made its final move to the shed at Barry where it stayed until withdrawn in September 1964. In November 1964 it made the short journey to Woodham Brothers scrapyard at Barry where it remained until August 1987.
It left Barry having been purchased along with four other GWR locomotives (2874, 3855, 4253 and 5967 Bickmarsh Hall) following its purchase by Tony Rippingale and moved to the Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway. The five engines were stored out in the open here until 2007 when all except 5668 were put up for sale.
Work was then undertaken to strip the asbestos in readiness for lifting the boiler off the locomotive.
In late 2013, 5668 was moved to its new home at the Kent & East Sussex Railway as part of a package deal involving a substantial quantity of parts that were required to progress the restoration of 4253. The agreement was that The 4253 Locomotive Company Limited would undertake the restoration of 5668 but that no work would commence until such time as 4253 had been completed and returned to steam.
Although no restoration work will begin for some years, it is important that the loco does not deteriorate further and, while the K&ESR line was closed in early 2014, 5668 was moved to Rolvenden yard where it was cleaned up and greased as necessary to provide some protection. It has now been carefully sheeted and returned to Wittersham Road siding for storage to await its turn to be bought back to life.
As a result of this deal the Kent & East Sussex, will be assured that yet another powerful steam locomotive will be added to its fleet in due course to haul passenger trains on the extended line from Tenterden to Robertsbridge.
In January 2020 it was reported that the 4253 Locomotive Company had started stripping the locomotive down.
|Home Base||Current Status||Owner|
|Kent & East Sussex Railway||Stored awaiting completion of restoration||4253 Locomotive Company Ltd|