DIDCOT Railway Centre’s Black Saint Weekend provided a final opportunity to see the Great Western Society’s (GWS) pioneer locomotive – ‘14XX’ 0-4-2T No. 1466 – on site before its departure for a £300,000 overhaul.
The former Newton Abbot ‘auto tank’ provided the foundation stone for all future GWS activities when, in April 1964, it became the society’s first locomotive, having been acquired for preservation from Taunton for £750.
From then until its withdrawal in 2000 with foundation ring issues, the loco was a popular performer, firstly at Totnes and from 1967 at Didcot.
During the week beginning November 19, No. 1466 was due to leave Didcot for the workshops of Western Steam Engineering in the Forest of Dean. Here, the loco will be stripped for assessment of the work required to return it to working order, including the boiler repairs.
Until it is dismantled the amount of work required is unknown, but the GWS believes a new firebox doorplate, side plating and possibly a new boiler barrel will be needed.
Mechanically, the Collett 0-4-2T is thought to be in reasonable order, and the majority of the repairs are expected to be centred on the pressure vessel.
For its final public appearance, No. 1466 was especially ‘dirtied up’ for a Timeline Events photo charter on the Didcot branch line on November 17, capturing the final days of Western Region steam in 1964/65.
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