Why 2807?

When steam trains were replaced by diesel and electric trains on British Railways, thousands of steam locomotives were withdrawn from service within a period of roughly ten years, from the late 1950's to the late 1960's. Only a few hundred steam locomotives survived the cutters torch. Many of these have yet to be restored, and indeed some may never be restored. Of those that are restored, only a proportion are available for use at any one time.

But preserved railways are becoming increasingly popular, as people find that they offer the chance to experience rail travel as it would have been decades ago. Railways are uniquely self contained and yet accessible, and with period stations, coaches, wagons, locos, track, and people dedicated to making it happen, they are able to create an environment where history is recreated.

To satisfy this growing demand, an increasing supply of serviceable locomotives is required, and No. 2807 has become one of those locomotives.

So why preserve No. 2807?

The 28XX class of Great Western Railway locomotives were the first 2-8-0s in Great Britain and were ahead of their time. Identical sister locomotive No. 2808 was a record breaker, having hauled a 2012 ton train from Swindon to Acton on 26 February 1906. No. 2807 is now the oldest Great Western Railway built steam locomotive in private hands (some older locomotives which came into G.W.R. ownership when the G.W.R. took over other railways have been preserved).

What are No. 2807's claims to fame?

  • The 28xx class were the first 2-8-0 wheel arrangement locomotives in Britain
  • No. 2807 is the oldest survivor of the 28xx class
  • This makes No. 2807 the oldest surviving British 2-8-0
  • No. 2807 is the oldest survivor of Churchward's celebrated standard designs
  • No. 2807 is the oldest locomotive built by the Great Western Railway and now owned privately *
  • No. 2807 is the oldest locomotive to be saved from Woodham Brothers scrapyard at Barry
  • No. 2807 was the first steam locomotive on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway
  • Identical sister locomotive No. 2808 hauled a record breaking 2012 ton freight train in 1906.

* two older surviving G.W.R. locomotives, the Dean Goods built in 1897, and City of Truro built in 1903, are both in the national collection.

But isn't No. 2807 just a freight locomotive?

No. 2807 is indeed a freight locomotive, but consider these facts:

  • Between the 1850's and 1950's the railways made two-thirds of all of their profits from the carriage of all types of freight.
  • No. 2807 and its sisters, worked on the trains hauling coal to the fleet during WWI.  These trains were to become known as "Jellicoe Specials".
  • At the end of the Second World War, the number of Great Western Railway freight and mixed traffic locomotives outweighed the number of purely passenger locomotives by three to one.
  • In the 1930's, freight receipts accounted for well over half of the Great Western Railway's income.

You can help.

This is your chance to be involved in preserving a piece of history. Whether by coming along to our working parties and helping to maintain the loco, helping run the owning company, or by becoming a shareholder or a friend.

Cotswold Steam Preservation Ltd. is a not-for-profit company, and everybody involved with No. 2807 is a volunteer, so all of the profit from these activities goes towards maintaining No. 2807.

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