GWR 4073 Class 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe

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The locomotive with restoration almost complete

The GWR 4073 Class 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe is a steam locomotive of the GWR 'Castle' Class, built in March 1936. It was originally named Barbury Castle, and was renamed Earl of Mount Edgcumbe in September 1937. It had a double chimney and 4 row superheater fitted in October 1958.

Its first shed allocation was Old Oak Common; from June 1952 to February 1956 it was based at Carmarthen, before returning again to Old Oak Common. It was transferred from Cardiff Canton TMD to Cardiff East Dock shed in September 1962. Its last shed allocation was Cardiff East Dock.

It was withdrawn in December 1963 and acquired by Woodham Brothers scrapyard in Barry, South Wales.[1] in June 1964. It was sold to the then Birmingham Railway Museum and left as the 43rd departure from Barry in September 1973.


Once at Tyseley Locomotive Works many of its parts were removed for safekeeping and the locomotive was stored, initially as a spare boiler for 7029 "Clun Castle".

  • In 1996 Birmingham Railway Museum trustees announced the project to restore Great Western Castle class 4-6-0 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe to main line running condition. Specifications required that the locomotive should be in late 1950s condition with Hawksworth tender and BR double chimney. The restoration fund was set up and work began to restore her from Barry condition. Later a Hawksworth tender was constructed and the tender frames obtained.
  • In 1998 The boiler was removed from the frames and prepared for inspection. Specialist welding work was completed on the boiler barrel by boiler specialists Babcock.
  • In 1999 descaling commenced on the front end of the frames in preparation for repair. The axleboxes were removed and examined, and found to be in excellent condition, requiring only examination, repair and cleaning.
  • In 2000 5043 was moved into Tyseley Locomotive Works. The majority of the components, especially footplating, were removed and put into store, and wheelsets removed so that cleaning of the frames could commence. The cab sides, which were beyond repair, were removed but retained until new cab sides had been manufactured and fitted. The engineering team scraped down the frames and removed thirty years' worth of grime in order to examine the frames. Once cleaning was completed the frames were given a coat of anti-corrosive green paint, which smartened up their appearance! Examination of the frames showed them to be in good condition. Parts for the rear dragbox renewal were manufactured and made ready for fitting. The usual pitting on parts of the frames caused by exposure to the sea air at Barry was found, but this could be smoothed down and repaired to prevent further corrosion and to improve appearances.
  • In 2001 expired platework on the Hawksworth tender frames was removed and new platework fitted and repainted. The new rear dragbox was riveted into place. The bushes for the coupling rods were cast, machined and fitted. While the inside motion was being prepared the frames were painted in black (exterior) and red (interior). New valve rings were manufactured ready for fitting. The slidebars were reground. While checking the inside crossheads for repair and refitting something interesting was found. It was common for inside crossheads to be fitted to various members of the fleet, but 5043's inside crossheads, on closer inspection, seem to have been fitted at one time to sister GWR Castle 5080 "Defiant". The slidebars were prepared for refitting. Newly manufactured splashers were fitted to the frames, along with the footplating, and painted in anti-corrosive paint. The bogie was repaired and repainted in preparation for refitting. The wheelsets were prepared for cleaning and refitting.
  • In 2002 further repainting of the frames took place, along with cleaning and preparation for reconstruction of tender. Work continued on wheelsets and axleboxes in preparation for rewheeling. Repainting of tender frames took place in preparation for fitting to tender tank, and numerous ancillary parts were manufactured in readiness for reconstruction.
  • In 2003 axlebox repairs were completed and coupled wheels refitted. The tender was assembled and was substantially completed. Valve motion was completed ready for reassembly. TPWS equipment was acquired. Repairs to the reversing gear were completed. The engine's brake gear was overhauled and fitted. The engine spring gear was reassembled.
  • In 2007 the boiler was steamed up and restoration was nearly complete. The tender was carefully prepared, primed and painted.
  • In 2008 the restoration was finally completed, and on 3 October 5043 moved under its own steam for the first time since withdrawal. On 5 October she was presented to invited guests and the press at Tyseley Locomotive Works.


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