Double joy for steam fans

Written by Pete Davison on .

Steam buffs gathered along the Bristol to London Paddington rail line on Easter Sunday to watch a former Great Western Railway express locomotive pass through the Marlborough area.

The Great Britain IV was pulled by various locomotives through Scotland, Wales and the west country as part of a nine-day tour of the UK.

It's final leg, from Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington, saw it pulled by the 5029 Nunney Castle.

The Nunney Castle has a strong local heritage. It was built at the Swindon Works in 1934. When it retired from service in 1964 it became the last last steam loco delivered to Barry Scrapyard by rail. It was rescued in 1976 by the Great Western Society at Didcot.

It passed through the Marlborough area at lunchtime on Sunday, and was captured by our photographer at a local steam landmark – Crofton Beam Engines – which were pumping for the first time this year.

The beam engines, one of which is the oldest working beam engine in the world, will be in steam this coming weekend – April 30 to May 2 – too.

Both the 1812 Boulton and Watt and the 1846 Harvey engine are in working condition, and are steamed publicly on several weekends through the summer months from a coal-fired Lancashire boiler.

When the pumping station is in steam, it actually carries out the job for which it was built. The electrically powered pumps that now normally do the job are switched off.