Museum of the Great Western Railway
STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway, also known as Swindon Steam Railway Museum, is located at the site of the old railway works in Swindon, England – Wiltshire's 'railway town'. The museum opened in 2000 and replaced the former GWR Museum, which was located on Faringdon Road in Swindon, which had opened on 22 June 1962.
The museum is housed in a restored Grade II listed railway building. This was part of the old Swindon Works of the Great Western Railway, which was one of the largest in the world and operated from 1843 to 1986. In its heyday, it covered more than 300 acres (120 ha), and could turn out three locomotives per week.
Apart from many exhibits of interest to railway engine and rolling stock enthusiasts, it tells the social story of the railway community in Swindon, with recorded personal experiences and film archives. Lifelike exhibits show people at work and human interactions. There are exhibits explaining the construction of locomotives, of railway equipment and of the railways themselves. It also tells the history of the Great Western Railway and the life of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the famous Victorian engineer, who masterminded the Great Western Railway. There are many hands-on exhibits and interactive displays. Enthusiastic ex-railway workers are on hand, to give a personal insight into many of the exhibits.
There is a series of reconstructions of areas of work, such as office, stores, workshop, signal box and foundry.
The museum holds a massive archive of books, periodicals, photographs, drawings and plans, relating to the Great Western Railway.
The museum is home to several GWR pre-nationalization-era locomotives, two of which are the first members of their respective classes. The majority of these are part of the UK National Collection.
- GWR Star Class North Star – a replica of an early broad gauge locomotive. Part of the National Collection
- GWR 2301 Class 2516 - Built in 1897 part of the National Collection
- GWR 3700 Class 3717 City of Truro Built in 1903 on static display, famed for setting a speed of 102.4 mph on Wellington Bank in 1904. On loan from the National Railway Museum and arrived alongside 6000 King George V as a replacement for 4003 Lode Star & The GWR Railcar.
- GWR 4073 Class 4073 Caerphilly Castle – Built in 1923 on static display, part of the National Collection
- GWR 4200 Class 4248 – Built in 1916 on static display, largely dismantled to look like a locomotive in the works.
- GWR 6000 Class 6000 King George V - Built in 1927 on static display, arrived alongside 3717 City of Truro. On loan from the National Railway Museum as a replacement for 4003 Lode Star & The GWR Railcar.
- GWR 9400 Class 9400 – Built in 1947 part of the National Collection
- GWR 7800 Class No.7821 Ditcheat Manor - on long term loan from the West Somerset Railway Association since 2010
- Agecroft No 3 - 0-4-0ST locomotive built by Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns in 1951 (works number 7681) - located outside the Old Swindon Works 20 Shop
In early September 2017 it was announced that GWR locomotive No'2818 would be deacessioned from the National Collection and transferred ownership to the STEAM Museum.
The museum also displays a small collection of Great Western rolling stock and equipment, including:
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-05. Retrieved 2010-05-19. Fact Sheet – Museum of the Great Western Railway
- Railway Magazine September 1963 p. 663
- "Great Western Railway Museum". Images of England. Retrieved 2006-10-01.
- "Back home! Swindon legends go back on display". The Railway Magazine. Vol. 161 no. 1,377. Horncastle, Lincs: Mortons Media Group. 2 December 2015. p. 9. ISSN 0033-8923.
- Industrial Railway Society (2012). Industrial Locomotives (16EL). Industrial Railway Society. ISBN 978 1 901556 78 0.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Swindon Steam Railway Museum.|
- STEAM Museum official website
- Map of location
- Friends of Swindon Railway Museum
- Video report about the Steam Museum by BizView.tv