7027 Thornbury Castle

7027 Thornbury Castle alsongside 6000 King George V at Paddington - September 1962.jpg

7027 was built at Swindon and in 1949 began its working life at Plymouth Laira. In 1959 it was allocated to Old Oak Common and lastly to Reading from where it was withdrawn in 1963. It was sent for scrap to Woodham Brothers in 1964 where it remained until August 1972 when it was sold to the Birmingham Railway Museum (Now called Vintage Trains).

The restoration made some progress until the museum ran into financial difficulties in the early 1980s.

After being purchased by Pete Waterman in October 1994, 7027 was moved to the Crewe Heritage Centre awaiting restoration but following Pete Waterman selling his facility at Crewe 7027 was moved to Peak Rail at Rowsley. It is planned to restore the locomotive but is not viewed as a high priority.

One set of name and number plates for the 7027 are mounted on a wall of the main hall of The Castle School in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire.

In 2016 Jon Jones-Pratt bought the locomotive from Pete Waterman and developed plans to restore it to working order. It is registered as being owned by JJP Holdings (South West) Ltd which is also the owning company of 4936 Kinlet Hall. Pete Waterman had previously said that he was prepared to sell the engine at a knockdown price to anyone prepared to make “an honest, heartfelt and passionate commitment” to restoring 7027.

Whilst at Rowsley 7027 was stored in the open since April 2016 in a sorry state without bogie wheels and tender and cab. In August 2016 it was moved to the former Westland Helicopter works on the site of the Weston municipal airport where it will be housed under cover. The bottom end (frames, wheels and motion) will be restored at Weston whilst the boiler will be overhauled at Tyseley Locomotive Works. The aim is to have the engine running again by 2024 including operating on the main line.

Restoration work was started in 2016 at the Crosville Motors depot at Weston super Mare. The owner of 7027 also owns the parent company of Crosville Motor Services.

In March 2017 the locomotive was moved to Tyseley for the restoration work to undertaken with a view to having it operational again in 2023. The estimated cost of achieving that is £1m.

The locomotives owner, Jonathan Jones-Pratt has stated that it will return to the West Somerset Railway on long-term hire when the overhaul is completed. During 2017 the bogie off the locomotive was sent to Williton on the West Somerset Railway where it is planned to restore it.

In Late 2018 the locomotive parts were moved to Tyseley where the aim is to restore it by 2025.

Due to the desire of the owner to have the locomotive back in steam quickly the locomotive was to the West Somerset Railway in December three months after being delivered to Tyseley.

A major blow to the restoration plan was reported in February 2019 following the theft of motion parts worth tens of thousands of pounds. The parts went missing during the relocation of the locomotive from owner Jon Jones-Pratt’s bus garage in Weston-super-Mare to Williton.

In November 2019 the owner said that whilst the locomotive was not for sale he would be prepared to listen to offers for it. This was brought about by the owners other commitments and his feeling that he would be unable to complete the restoration of the locomotive for about another fifteen years.

In January 2020 it was announced that the locomotive had been sold to a private buyer. The new owner is a significant supporter of the Great Central Railway where the locomotive will be restored. It was also stated that the locomotive will not be made available for mainline running.

The locomotive and tender were delivered to Loughborough over a number of days in February 2020.

In March 2020 the boiler was lifted off the frames.

Work restarted on restoring the locomotive following the lockdown due to the Corvid-19 pandemic and the frames were lifted off the driving wheels in June 2020.

In August 2022 it was confirmed that the locomotive had been purchased by the 4709 Project Group who are based at Didcot. Components from the locomotive including the boiler will be used on the new build of 4709.

Following the announcement of the sale the previous owner, Jonathan Jones Pratt, said that the outcome of the sale to the 4709 Project Group was never part of the agreement he had in place. He had sold the locomotive in January 2020 on the basis that the locomotive would be restored. It was subsequently stated that Jonathan Jones Pratt wanted to purchase the whole locomotive and spares and that the locomotive would remain at Loughborough where it would be restored.

The 4709 Project Group said that the plan they had for 7027 Thornbury Castle was to use the locomotive to create a Star class engine using the boiler from 2861which has been used to donate parts to the County of Montgomery build. They had intended to announce this plan in September 2022 but brought it forward due to the reaction the use of the boiler from 7027 Thornbury Castle had caused.

In September 2022 the Great Western Society announced that they would hold all the parts of 7027 Thornbury Castle that are in good condition for six months. During this period the society will consider offers from properly funded groups for all or parts of the locomotive which could enable it to be rebuild.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
Great Central RailwayUncertain
7027 Thornbury Castle in the works yard at Swindon – September 1955
7027 at Worcester – September 1960
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7027 Thornbury Castle at Paddington – April 1962
7027 Thornbury Castle alongside 6000 King George V at Paddington – September 1962
7027 Thornbury Castle in Woodhams scrapyard at Barry – April 1967
7027 Thornbury Castle at Buckfastleigh on what was then the Dart Valley Railway – April 1990
7027 Thornbury Castle at Peak Rail at Matlock – May 2016
7027 Thornbury Castle in the Crossville depot – March 2017

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