PICTURE the scene: A passenger train of chocolate & cream carriages runs into the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway’s new Broadway station, hauled by a gleaming Churchward ‘38XX’ ‘County’ 4-4-0.
The tableau is almost pure 1920s Great Western, yet both the station and locomotive are in fact 21st century re-creations of the originals. It may sound like the stuff of fantasy, but the ‘County’ 4-4-0 is set to become a reality after the Great Western Society (GWS) handed over its long-dormant project to build a ‘Rough Rider’ to a new independent group.
The Churchward County Trust Ltd (CCT) has been established by The RM’s own Gary Boyd-Hope, together with David Bradshaw, to breathe new life into the GWS’ old ‘County’ 4-4-0 proposal and turn the idea into cut metal.
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Creating one of G J Churchward’s ‘38XXs’, using the boiler from ex-‘Barry 10’ 2-8-0T No. 5227 and patterns made for the construction of ‘Saint’ No. 2999 Lady of Legend, had been an aspiration of the GWS since it signed the ‘Three Counties Agreement’ with Vale of Glamorgan Council back in 2005.
However, in the intervening years the GWS came to accept the 4-4-0 was unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future, largely owing to ongoing commitments at Didcot. A proposal was then put forward by Messrs Boyd-Hope and Bradshaw for the scheme to be handed over to an outside body, which received official GWS sanction last autumn.
The CCT is a wholly autonomous organisation led by Mr Boyd-Hope, but remains affiliated with the GWS; the society’s chairman Richard Croucher acts as a director.
Read more in the February 2018 issue of The RM – on sale now!