6989 Wightwick Hall

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6989 was completed in March 1948 at Swindon Works at a cost of £9,686.

The locomotive was outshopped in GWR lined green livery with the number on the front buffer beam and British Railways in capitalised GWR style letters on the tender.It would have been expected that the locomotive would have entered service in BR black as Swindon had instructed Swindon around February 1948 that no more locomotives should be painted green. At that time five hundred gallons of Brunswick green paint was hurriedly made to beat the deadline. This paint was stored in unlabelled five gallon drums and when they were opened they were found to contain green rather than black paint. By 1956 it was in black livery.

Initially the locomotive was allocated to Hereford.

BR motive power depot allocations.

Date ArrivedDepot
March 1948Hereford
March 1956Worcester
April 1957Hereford
July 1959Worcester
September 1962Gloucester Horton Road

During the dying days of steam in September 1962, 6989 was taken off a goods train to replace the failed D1000 Western Enterprise, which was only nine months old at the time, on a Birmingham to Paddington express. In 1963 it rescued a Warship Class diesel heading the noon Penzance to Paddington Travelling Post Office.

6989 was withdrawn in June 1964 from Gloucester Horton Road shed, and sold to Woodham Brothers scrapyard on 17 July 1964 having done over 640,000 miles. 6989 travelled to Barry scrapyard in the company of 6960 Raveningham Hall, 7F 53809 and 8f 48431 who have also been preserved.

In 1978, the locomotive was purchased by the Wightwick Hall Restoration Group for the Quainton Railway Society who has paired it with an older Collett pattern tender as this is what it ran with for most of its life. The price paid for the locomotive was £8,500 (plus VAT giving a total price of £9,180) after the initial asking price of £5,000 was raised due to the increase in the value of scrap metal.

As the locomotive was over the weight limit for the Severn Bridge so it had to be transported from Barry to Quainton via Chepstow and Gloucester with an overnight stop at Cheltenham.

After nearly two decades the boiler was reunited with the frames in 1996. The engine and tender were joined together in 2008. In 2010 the boiler was removed and placed on a concrete pad in order to allow work on the stays to take place. A fire was lit in the boiler of 6989 in August 2014 and the relief valves lifted for the first time in around 50 years.

It is expected that the locomotive will be running on the Buckinghamshire Railway in 2017 although this will involve the hiring of a tender from 6984 Oswden Hall from the Swindon & Cricklade Railway. The construction of a 4,000 gallon tender for 6989 has been put on hold in order to concentrate resources on the locomotive.

It had been expected that the locomotive would return to steam during 2017 for the first time since 1964. By the end of 2017 the anticipated date by which it would be back in steam had been revised to the first half of 2018.

In 2018 it was anticipated that the in-frame steam tests would be undertaken at Quainton in late July 2018.

6989 will initially be coupled to the tender from 6984 Owsden Hall.

In December 2018 the locomotive moved under its own steam once again. At this time it became the 150th locomotive from the Barry scrapyard to steam again. It was then put to bed for the winter whilst a number of jobs could be undertaken before it entered traffic in March 2019.

The locomotive was made available for hire.

In February 2021 it was reported that the locomotive would return to the Battlefield line for an extended hire period starting in June 2021 and lasting until December 2022 or January 2023.

In May 2022 it was reported that the locomotive was undergoing repairs following an earlier discovery of some cracked firebox stays. It is planned to hire the locomotive to heritage railways later in 2022.

In June 2022 the locomotive was moved to the Bluebell Railway where it is due to operate until the summer of 2023.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
Buckinghamshire Railway CentreOperational Quainton Railway Society Ltd
6989 Wightwick Hall next to Hall class 5922 Caxton Hall on Swindon shed – May 1961
6989 Wightwick Hall on Old Oak Common shed – May 1964
6989 Wightwick Hall at Quainton Road – May 1978
6989 Wightwick Hall at Quainton Road -May 2017
6989 Wightwick Hall at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre – May 2019
6989 at Shackerstone on the Battlefield Line – January 2020
6989 Wightwick Hall at Horsted Keynes on the Bluebell Railway – October 2022

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