Take a captivating odyssey through the annals of railway history and discover our collection of historic locomotives.
Blue Peter is the last remaining L.N.E.R. Class A2 Pacific and was one of the most powerful express passenger locomotives in the UK. She was one of 15 of the class designed by Arthur H Peppercorn and entered service in 1948 just weeks after the amalgamation of the Big Four railway companies into the newly nationalised British Railway.
34046 Braunton is a West Country Class express passenger engine designed by Oliver Bulleid which alongside the Battle of Britain Class locomotives, that shared the same design, were collectively known as ‘Bulleid Light Pacifics’.
The locomotives of the West Country Class were so named after towns on or near the Southern Railway system in the west of England, with the town of Braunton situated in North Devon.
In the post war years of skills shortages and declining maintenance standards, British Railways embarked on a rebuilding programme of the ‘Light Pacifics’ in an attempt to improve reliability. In 1959 the air-smoothed casing and the internal chain drive were removed. By 1965 after accumulating 779,210 miles in service, Braunton was retired from service and sold to Barry Scrapyard. By 1988 the locomotive had moved from Barry but serious restoration did not begin until 1996 and was completed by 2008.
Over the winter of 2011 the locomotive was fitted with all the modern equipment to allow it to be used on the mainline railway network. Although restricted to 75mph, Braunton is capable of speeds in excess of 100mph.
70000 Britannia is a British Railways Standard class 7 engine, alternatively known as the Britannia class, and the first of 55 to be built by British Railways in Crewe.
Completed in January 1951 she was built for express passenger services between London and Norwich.
The BR Standard classes were designed by drawing on the best qualities from several previous locomotives to create an efficient engine that was produced with lower maintenance costs and weight saving measures to enable it to work across a wider geography.
Britannia has 2 cylinders, 6 driving wheels and a firebox of 42ft2 with most of the motion situated on the outside of the frames for ease of maintenance. Whilst limited to 75mph the locomotive is capable of reaching speeds up to 100mph.
For many years Britannia’s cab roof was painted white to commemorate her pulling the funeral train of King George VI from Sandringham to London in 1952. After 15 years of service in May 1966 Britannia was retired and after spells at preserved railways returned to the national network between 1991 and 1997 until major repairs were required and the locomotive was withdrawn for overhaul. In 2010 Britannia was steamed once more and 2011 marked the locomotive’s return to the main line after a 14 year absence.
In one of her most important roles, Britannia hauled The Royal Train from Preston to Wakefield in January 2012.
Duke of Gloucester
71000, Duke of Gloucester is a British Railways Standard Class 8P built at Crewe works in 1954.
Designed by Robert Riddles to work the heavy express trains between Euston and Scotland, Duke of Gloucester was a prototype for the BR Standard Class 8 express passenger locomotives but was the only one of the class ever to be built.
Previously, Riddle’s Britannia class 7 had been highly successful and the Standard Class 8 was intended to be an enlarged version of the Britannia class, with a three-cylinder layout instead of two worked by the more steam efficient Caprotti valve gear. However, certain design and construction errors meant the locomotive failed to achieve its expected performance in service and in 1962, after only 8 years of operation, Duke of Gloucester was withdrawn for scrap.
Sent to Barry scrapyard it languished until rescued by the Duke of Gloucester Steam Locomotive Trust in 1974. A thirteen year restoration project began, during which time the initial faults were corrected to transform the locomotive into the free steaming, powerful engine it was designed to be.
After being withdrawn from service 2012 the Duke has been through a long extensive overhaul before its return to hauling trips on the mainline in 2024.
Built for the London & North Eastern Railway, 61306 is one of two surviving B1 Class locomotives.
The B1’s were designed as mixed traffic locomotives capable of hauling express passenger trains as well as freight traffic. As powerful, go anywhere engines, the B1’s worked across most of the UK rail network from East Anglia to Scotland.
Mayflower was built in 1948 by the North British Locomotive Company in Glasgow but was delivered post-nationalisation and acquired the number 61306 by British Railways. She was first allocated to Hull Botanic Gardens Depot followed by a spell at Hull Dairycotes Depot before being finally transferred to Low Moor Depot, Bradford. She was the last B1 in service, her final trip was hauling the ‘Yorkshire Pullman’ from Leeds in September 1967.
Mayflower was immediately purchased for preservation and was initially based at Steamtown in Carnforth. She was fully restored for mainline operation and was given the name ‘Mayflower’ in 1970 by the then owner to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the sailing of the original Mayflower from Plymouth. She worked a number of railtours in the 1970’s.
Acquired by Steam Dreams previous owner, David Buck, in 2014, she returned to the mainline in 2015 before being withdrawn for an extensive overhaul. Resplendent in the early British Railways apple green livery as she was originally given when delivered in 1948 she returned to full mainline operation in early 2019.
Mayflower has two cylinders, 6 driving wheels, a firebox grate area of 30 square feet and can operate at 75mph.
Royal Scot was built in 1927 for the fastest trains on the London Midland & Scottish Railway.
46100 Royal Scot was the first in a new breed of steam locomotives, built by the LMS for their fastest passenger services from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.
She was chosen to appear on behalf of Britain at the 1933 ‘Century of Progress’ exhibition in Chicago, USA. The locomotive as well as a full rake of carriages were shipped to the United States and appeared not only at the exhibition, but also toured the USA and Canada, even crossing the Rocky Mountains!
Royal Scot was rebuilt by British Railways in 1950 and went on to serve another 12 years in traffic on the West Coast Main Line.
Royal Scot briefly returned to steam at Bressingham Steam Museum from 1972 to 1978 before spending almost the next 30 years as a static exhibit. She briefly steamed in 2009 before it was discovered that a major overhaul was required.
Royal Scot returned to steam at the Severn Valley Railway in September 2015. She made her successful main line debut on December 22 and 23 of the same year with test runs from Crewe to Carnforth and return.
Sir Nigel Gresley
Sir Nigel Gresley is an A4 class locomotive built by the London & North Eastern Railway in 1937.
The locomotive is named after the company’s then Chief Mechanical Engineer. In 1935 the LNER introduced the streamlined A4 Class locomotives to improve the speed of their trains and compete with the increased competition from road transport. Initially introduced to haul the new Silver Jubilee express between London and Newcastle, the class was an instant success, with 2509 Silver Link, setting a new British speed record of 112 mph on the first press run! In 1936 this was bettered by Silver Fox, another A4 Class Locomotive, before in 1938 a further member of the class, number 4468 Mallard, set an all-time world speed record for steam traction of 126 mph.
During its working life Sir Nigel Gresley was mainly allocated to King’s Cross depot, often known as ‘Top Shed’ and worked King’s Cross to York, Leeds, Newcastle & Edinburgh expresses. In the 1960s the locomotive moved to Scotland and hauled the Edinburgh to Aberdeen trains until withdrawal in 1966.
Thirteen years earlier, in 1959 the locomotive had set a post-war world speed record of 112 mph when working a special train from Doncaster to London, and as such was ear marked for preservation. The A4 Preservation Society, now a registered Charity, the Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Trust, successfully purchased Sir Nigel Gresley and moved the locomotive to Crewe for overhaul.
Sir Nigel Gresley has enjoyed periods of mainline activity from the 1967 onwards and the locomotive hauled its first train for Steam Dreams in 2008.