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. Like all other steam locomotives based there, with the dieselisation of Cardiff Canton TMD it was transferred to Cardiff East Dock shed in September 1962, its last shed allocation.

It was withdrawn in December 1963, and acquired by Woodham Brothers scrapyard in Barry, South Wales in June 1964.[1]

Preservation[edit]

It was sold to the then Birmingham Railway Museum and left as the 43rd departure from Barry in September 1973. 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 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe to main line running condition. The proposal was to restore the locomotive to late 1950s condition, with newly constructed Hawksworth tender and BR double chimney.

In 1998, the boiler was removed from the frames and prepared for inspection, with welding undertaken by Babock. 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 engineering team scraped down the frames, which once clean showed them to be in good condition, and given a coat of anti-corrosive green paint. The bushes for the coupling rods were cast, machined and fitted. While checking the inside crossheads for repair and refitting, which were found to have been fitted at one time to sister GWR Castle 5080 "Defiant". The wheelsets were prepared for cleaning and refitting, and the bogie repaired and repainted, with fitting undertaken in 2003. TPWS equipment was acquired and fitted. In late 2007 the boiler was steamed up and approved, allowing 5043 to move under its own steam on 3 October 2008.

The locomotive has since worked various special trains, working mainly to Stratford upon Avon and Didcot in the summer.

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