GWR did try to place broad gauge locos elsewhere

Published: 03:26PM Feb 1st, 2012

THE article on ‘safeguarded’ locos that were then wantonly destroyed (Dec) was informative, but states that destruction of the two broad gauge locos at Swindon in 1906 was done by Stanier whilst Churchward was on leave. This was not the case.

The National Archives hold the Minute Book for the GWR Locomotive Committee meeting of July 22, 1903, in which it is recorded: “Mr Churchward reported that (due to space being required at Swindon) that having regard for the interest attached
to the two engines, they be offered to the South Kensington Museum and the committee recommended that an effort be made to dispose of them in this manner.”

Two and a half years later, in the minutes of the meeting of December 20, 1905, it states: “Ref minute 19 of 22/7/03: The Locomotive Superintendent reported that the old broad gauge engines … had been offered to several institutions without success and upon his recommendation, the committee agreed that they should be broken up.”

It would appear that no-one elsewhere had the sense to realise that those were important items. Space at Swindon was at a premium then.

I should also note that at that point of time, any Stanier involved in the destruction (and I can find no record of this) would have been William Stanier’s father – W H Stanier (also a William), who was chief clerk at Swindon, and not the later loco engineer, who was working as a running superinten-dent at Paddington/Old Oak Common at that time.

Otherwise, I found the article to be an interesting essay in railway company short-sightedness.

GWR Loco Steward,
Hstorical Model Railway Society,
Alsager, Cheshire

Our thanks to Mr Lewis for uncovering this little-known archive information and to Andrew Hemming of Dumbarton for a similar letter. – Ed

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