Great Western Railway rival to Flying Scotsman to visit for Steam Gala5th May 2023

The Epping Ongar Railway is delighted to announce that the Great Western Railway "Castle" class steam locomotive, 4079 Pendennis Castle is to visit for its Steam Gala event between 23 and 25 June.

The Castle Class 4-6-0 locomotive is one of the most celebrated locomotive types of the former Great Western Railway. The seventh locomotive of the type, Pendennis Castle rolled out of Swindon Works nearly 100 years ago in February 1924. In 1925 the locomotive was lent to the London and North Eastern Railway for trials against the new Gresley pacifics exemplified by Flying Scotsman. Pendennis Castle outperformed its larger competitors and led to the Great Western Railway proclaiming the locomotive to be the most powerful express passenger locomotive in Britain!

GWR Castle class locomotive 4079 Pendennis Castle departing from Bewdley on the Severn Valley Railway

After being preserved in 1964, Pendennis Castle was shipped to Australia for use on excursion trains on the Hammersley Iron ore carrying network, with the final steaming there taking place in 1994. With an uncertain future, the locomotive was offered to the Didcot Railway Centre and after a 10 week voyage Pendennis Castle returned home in July 2000. Having laid idle since 1994, the locomotive returned to steam again in April 2022.

General Manager, George Saville, commented:
“We are incredibly proud to be hosting one of the true icons of steam preservation, with Pendennis Castle visiting us, and we would like to thank the Great Western Society for allowing us to make this childhood dream come true”.

The locomotive will be operating trains on all three days of the gala event, alongside another guest locomotive, British Railways pannier locomotive 9466 and our own 4953 Pitchford Hall, Prairie L150 and Hawthorn Leslie saddle tank, Isabel.

The visit of Pendennis Castle is courtesy of the Great Western Society and Didcot Railway Centre.

Tickets for the Steam Gala will go on sale shortyl. Further details about the event can be found by following this link