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Four Restored Castles at Didcot Railway Centre

Didcot railway

Being warmly welcomed to the Didcot Railway Centre for one day only on Saturday 4th March, will be two guest Engines, 5043 - Earl of Mount Edgcumbe & 7029 - Clun Castle, from Tyseley Locomotive Works care of Vintage Trains.

Both Engines, on arrival, will be turned and watered before lining up beside our very own newly restored and functional 4079 - Pendennis Castle & restored but static 5051 - Drysllwyn Castle. The two visiting Engines will arrive onsite for maintenance and photographs before heading back home.

2023 marks an important anniversary in the history of the Great Western Railway. 100 years ago, No. 4073 Caerphilly Castle was completed and put into service. This marked the beginning of what is considered by many as the most successful Express Passenger steam locomotives the U.K. ever produced - the Castle Class.

To celebrate this, Didcot Railway Centre in partnership with Vintage Trains at Tyseley, are working to bring you two very special events. We will bring together four restored Castles in one place. At Didcot we will see our very own Nos. 4079 Pendennis Castle and 5051 Drysllwyn Castle alongside Tyseley’s Nos. 5043 Earl of Mount Edgecumbe and 7029 Clun Castle for a few hours on Saturday 4th March. In return, Pendennis Castle will make a visit to Tyseley later in the year and be displayed on an open day.

To have all four together in one place on the same day is an amazing achievement that has been years in the planning. Join us in March to help us celebrate this very rare Event. We look forward to seeing you! Locomotive No 7029 – Clun Castle, is a relative newcomer having been built in 1950 by British Railways to the famous Great Western Railway Castle class design. She took the record for the shortest timed point to point journey from Plymouth to Bristol in 1964 from the previous record holder, City of Truro. This epic run by the last of her class in every day service ensured 7029's preservation and she came to Tyseley to begin a distinguished second career in preservation.

5043 – Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, is Vintage Trains' second member of the Castle Class, but unlike the others was built in 1936 and so is an authentic GWR locomotive, named after one of the directors of the GWR. When first withdrawn from service, she was consigned to Barry Scrapyard but found too good to destroy.

Tyseley Locomotive Works rebuilt 5043 to exacting standards and she has run far and wide for Vintage Trains, including unfamiliar territory such as Stirling and Edinburgh in Scotland. 5043 is back in action after returning to Steam in the second half of 2021 after a 10 year boiler overhaul.

 4079 – Pendennis Castle, was the seventh of 171 Castles built and was completed at Swindon in February 1924. On the 2nd April 2022, ‘Pendennis Castle’ was launched back into traffic following a 20+ year overhaul. Since then, she has won a number of awards for both the restoration and her service history. She will be having a couple of holidays to other Railways this year so stay tuned for her various exploits!

5051 – Drysllwyn Castle/ Earl Bathurst, was built at Swindon in May 1936. She was renamed ‘Earl Bathurst’ in August 1937 and carried that name for the rest of her GWR and BR life. Both names are regularly used on the locomotive at Didcot. She was rescued by a Society member and brought to Didcot in February 1970. She 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 she was returned to service, and enjoyed runs out on the mainline once more, and visits to other preserved railways as well as Didcot 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.

In addition to passenger rides, the event will feature goods trains, demonstrations of the 70ft turntable in action. 

Tickets are limited and must be booked in advance at where visitors can also find full details and updates on the event.  

 Following the Event, the Centre is open at weekends until April when we then will be open on Wednesdays and as well as the weekends. Full details and bookings can be found at On site, visitors can explore almost two centuries of railway heritage set across 21 acres. Steam trains will be running on the Centre’s demonstration line offering unlimited rides aboard a train of beautifully restored vintage carriages with each group allocated an individual compartment for their trip.

Image credits: Frank Dumbleton and Robin Coombes


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