GWR 813
Preservation Fund

 GWR 813 Goods Train. (Rick Eborall©)
Photo: Rick Eborall.©

813 Fund News.

December 2011.

GWR 813 Locomotive has seen completion of the platework replacement around the lower outer firebox sections. These welds have been NDT examined and work will now proceed on marking out and drilling all stay and rivet holes in the new platework. Once this is completed the new platework will be riveted as per the original sides.

(info from SVR News)

March 2011.
813 - Progress with overhaul.

Shortly after returning from Toddington in June 2010, 813 was moved into the boiler shop at Bridgnorth where its cab and saddletank were removed and the boiler lifted from the frames. Following removal of the tubes from the boiler, the firebox was progressively dismantled and the various components examined to determine to what extent the firebox would need to be renewed. At this point the possibility of fitting an entirely new copper inner firebox (to replace the existing steel one) was examined but, after careful consideration, it was concluded that this would not be a cost effective option in view of the increasing cost of copper plate (it would cost three times as much to make a new copper box compared to a steel one). Provision of a new copper inner firebox would also alter the overall design and specification of the firebox as a whole which would further complicate the issue. The end result was the decision to manufacture and fit a new steel inner fire box and replace the lower one third of the outer wrapper, retaining also, after renovation, the existing foundation ring and girder bars. It is hoped that this work will have been completed by the Autumn. Whilst the main thrust of the current renovation project has centred around the boiler and firebox, work has also progressed on mechanical repairs to the locomotive. Fortunately, the extent of this work is relatively modest, the most notable elements being repairs to cracks in one of the horn guides and the adjacent area of the main frames and provision of a new rear cylinder cover, slide bars and piston heads. More expensive will be the decision to acquire a new set of coupling rods for the locomotive. The existing rods, which are not the originals but are thought to have originated from one or more ex North Eastern Railway tank locomotives at one time employed at Backworth Colliery, are past their sell-by date and really need to be replaced (one has a crack which would otherwise need to be repaired). Plans have been drawn up for a new set of side rods based closely on the original 1900 design and it hoped that these can be manufactured and fitted before the locomotive re-enters service following completion of the current overhaul project.

June 30 2010.
Interlude in the Cotswolds.

Following hasty re-assembley of various fittings and parts already removed in preparation for the boiler lift, 813 was duly moved to Toddington in mid May and subsequently appeared as a static exhibit in the bay platform at Winchcombe for the duration of the Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway's highly successful GWR175 event. Also participating in the Gala were the Fund's two Open Wagons based on the Avon Valley Railway - 10931 and newly renovated 86582 which formed part of the demonstration GWR goods train operating during the event. Both wagons sported newly made sheet supporters and were a credit to Ollie Holmes and his wagon restoration team at Bitton. By the end of June both 813 and the two wagons were duly returned to their respective bases at Bridgnorth and Bristol.

March 28 2010.
813 - Current Situation.

Preparations for the boiler lift have more or less been completed but the anticipated entry of the locomotive into the Bridgnorth Boiler Shop has been delayed by a few weeks whilst the backlog of other work is being cleared. This has afforded the Fund the opportunity to accept an invitation from the organisers of the GWR175 Gala to be held in late May and early June on the Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway to exhibit 813 at Toddington where it will be on static display for the duration of the event. The locomotive will return to the SVR after the Gala for work on lifting and examining the boiler to proceed.

October 2009.
Locomotive 813 Withdrawn From Service.

Following the departure of 'Yankee Tank' 30075 from Cranmore for the Mid Hants Railway in early August, 813 embarked on a period of extended use on the East Somerset Railway, working virtually all scheduled steam passenger services up until 20th September. This included the 'Mendip Steam Dream' Gala event on 12th/13th September which featured both passenger and freight trains. 813 then returned to Kidderminster to participate in the SVR Autumn Steam Gala from 24th to 26th September. The locomotive enjoyed a very successful Gala, working both passenger and goods trains up and down the length of the Railway. The goods train operated largely during the evenings and early mornings and was the subject of a special category in the 'Heritage Railway' Magazine sponsored photographic competition staged over the event. Some excellent images can be viewed on a number of the photographer's links identified in the Special Events section of the SVR On Line Forum website. Unfortunately, the SVR Gala proved to be 813's last appearance in steam before the expiry of its current boiler 'ticket' in April of next year. Following some tell tale leaks from the firebox foundation ring over the Gala period, the SVR boilersmith examined the firebox immediately after the event and decided that its condition gave cause for concern such that further use of the locomotive could not be sanctioned until the boiler was removed and subjected to a thorough examination. Effectively, therefore, the locomotive has now been withdrawn from service to await overhaul and repair in preparation for its next ten year boiler 'ticket'. Regretably, this has meant that the planned return of 813 to the East Somerset Railway for the remainder of the current season and for 'Santa Special' operations in December, as well as visits to the Avon Valley Railway in November and to the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway in March 2010 have had to be cancelled. It is an unfortunately premature end to what has otherwise been a very successful ten year operation encompassing visits to some 27 different heritage railways and centres ranging from Cornwall and West Wales to Yorkshire and County Durham. The good news is that initial work on dismantling has already commenced at Bridgnorth by a team of volunteers led by Paul Johnson in readiness for removal of the boiler from the frames and examination by the SVR boilersmith early next year. The existing steel firebox is over 45 years old and, depending on the boilersmith's findings may need to be replaced. If so, the possibility of fitting a new copper firebox will be considered but this will obviously depend on the availability of the necessary finance. Funds permitting, it is hoped to return 813 to service within two years. The boiler apart, the locomotive appears to be in reasonably good fettle, but the opportunity now exists to undertake other long outstanding jobs including the fitting of a new brake valve and provision of a replacement set of coupling rods. A provisional estimate of £50,000 to £110,000 has been set for all the work we would ideally wish to see undertaken in this window of opportunity.

Can You Help?

In order to secure an early return of 813 to service, without jeopardising the Fund's other restoration committments, we need to secure an increased flow of funds. If you feel that our objectives are worthwhile your support would be warmly welcomed. A contribution to the restoration fund of £20 or more entitles the donor to membership of the 813 Fund (at present there is no set annual membership fee) although all contributions of whatever amount are appreciated. 813 can be returned to traffic within two years with your help. Cheques should be made payable to the 'GWR 813 Fund' and forwarded to the contact address in this website. The 813 Fund also raises finance through a successful sales stand operation at various heritage railway events, exhibitions, etc. One of our specialities is the sale of railway and other transport DVDs which we also supply by mail order post free. You could help swell our funds by channelling your future DVD requirements through the Fund (the vast majority of DVD programmes can be readily supplied)- orders should forwarded to Pat Goss (see Contact box above). Please note that, at present, we can only accept payment by cheque.

October 2009.
Are You Out There?

We would like to regain contact with Mr Mark Smith, formerly of Portswood Park, Southampton. If you see this message would you kindly get in touch with Pat Goss.

March 2009.
813 Re-tubed.

Following discussions in the New Year between the 813 Fund, East Somerset Railway and the S.V.R. Locomotive Department,it was decided that 813's boiler tubes were virtually life expired but that a complete re-tube would nevertheless be economically viable despite the impending expiry of the current boiler 'ticket' in the Spring of 2010. The existing tubes were subsequently removed at Cranmore following which the condition of the boiler and firebox was examined and found to be reasonably satisfactory. Suitable terms were then agreed between the 813 Fund and the E.S.R. and a set of new tubes purchased and installed in the boiler at Cranmore in late March. The official steam test was undertaken on 2nd April and the locomotive duly passed by the insurance inspector and SVR boilersmith for a further year's service. 813 subsequently appeared the following weekend at the E.S.R. Spring Steam Gala and has since seen regular service on the line, sharing passenger duties with resident 'USA' tank locomotive 30075. The locomotive is set to remain on the E.S.R. for the rest of 2009 but is booked to make a temporary return to Bridgnorth in September to participate in the SVR Autumn Steam Gala.

New Home Sought For Historic GWR Hand Crane.

The Plym Valley Railway has asked the Fund to find a new home for partially restored Travelling 1.5ton Hand Crane 603 (converted in 1892 from Broad Gauge vehicle of Cornwall Railway origin) and its match truck (formerly 'Mite' Timber Wagon 32567 built 1883). If anyone can suggest a suitable residence for these venerable vehicles please advise Pat Goss.

October 2008.

Locomotive 813

Following use by the Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway on its Santa Special services in December 2007, 813, masquerading as sister engine 816, featured in a very successful photographic charter staged at Blaenavon on 12th January 2008. A short goods train was operated up and down the line including the 'new' section south of Furnace Sidings. After withdrawal from service by the GWR in 1929, 816 was purchased by Partridge Jones & John Paton Ltd of Abersychan and worked in colliery service not far from Blaenavon up until the early 1950s. 813 returned to the SVR later in the month for its annual boiler insurance inspection, still carrying its 816 numberplates. Consideration was given to using the locomotive on the shuttle service operated from January to Easter between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade whilst the main section of the Railway remained closed for reconstruction following the storm damage of 2007. For a number of reasons, however, this did not materialise and, in early March the locomotive left Bridgnorth for a further spell on hire to the East Somerset Railway. Having regained its proper identity, 813 shared scheduled passenger duties on the E.S.R. with the resident 'USA' tank throughout the early part of the Summer season and also appeared at the 'Cranmore 150 Quarry Gala' event held at Merehead on 21st/22nd June when it provided public brake van rides. All went well until 19th July when a burst tube was discovered during disposal of the locomotive at the end of day. By way of a precaution, a second tube was subsequently removed but found to be in satisfactory condition. Two replacement tubes were fitted and the locomotive returned to traffic in early August. The incident served as a reminder, however, that 813 is approaching the final stages of its ten year boiler certificate and that there is a possibility that further tube trouble could well arise in the months ahead. Later in August more problems developed with a partial collapse of the brick arch followed by its complete disintegration at the end of the East Somerset Gala event on 6th/7th September at which stage a number of weeping tubes also came to light. As the locomotive was due to return almost immediately to the S.V.R. for the Autumn Steam Gala, however, it was decided that it would be best if the necessary repairs were undertaken at Bridgnorth rather than Cranmore. 813 arrived back at Kiddermonster on 10th August and worked up to Bridgnorth two days later inside Stanier Mogul 42968 on the 3.50pm northbound departure. At Bridgnorth, a new brick arch was constructed, the weeping tubes made water tight and the loco passed fit to participate in the Gala event over the weekend 19th-21st September. At that event 813 had to share the limelight with over a dozen resident and visiting locomotives including 'City of Truro' and 'Dukedog' 9017. She was, however, given a varied operating schedule including 'local' trains between Bridgnorth and Hampton Loade, a double headed early Saturday morning run from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster with Pannier Tank 5764, a number of turns in the Kidderminster/Bewdley/Highley sector some with 5764 and, what was arguably the highlight, a non stop run on the Friday evening from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster double headed with visiting Prairie Tank 5526. It is thought that 813 probably ran faster on this train than at any other time throughout its 107 years history ! 813 is now back on the East Somerset Railway to complete its current hire contract. It will probably remain there until the end of December. Serious consideration will then have to be given as to the way forward in 2009. The East Somerset Railway is keen to hire the locomotive again next year but the possibility of further tube failure makes this a doubtful proposition unless the boiler is completely re-tubed in the meantime. This is a possibility so long as a minimum level of hire income can be guaranteed for the period up to expiry of the current boiler certificate in May 2010. Much will also depend on the results of the boiler inspector's annual examination in January when the general condition of the boiler and firebox will be critically examined. Watch this space !.


In May 2008 the Fund acquired the first addition to its wagon collection in over eight years with the purchase of GWR 'Mink'covered van 93045 (built 1913 to diagram V16). This vehicle had for a number of years been displayed outside the Waterways Museum at Gloucester Docks following restoration to a very high standard by its previous owner, Mr. Chris Perkins. The van was offered to the 813 Fund in the wake of a decision by the Museum authorities to reduce the number of railway wagons exhibited at the site. The vehicle, which is in very good condition, was subsequently moved to the Severn Valley Railway where a quick repaint and replacement of a few floor planks should see it fit to join sister V16 'Mink' 93016 in service on the Railway. Ongoing maintenance of the Fund's wagons on the SVR continues with attention currently being given to 1924 built 'Mink' V18 covered van 104621 in the expert hands of Steve Peplow and his Bewdley Wagon Department team. Another 'Mink', V14 103592 is currently part way through complete renovation by members of the 1501 Locomotive Trust who will use the vehicle for their own storage purposes once restoration has been completed. After 24 years in store on the SVR, 'Bow Ended' Collett coach 4872 will shortly be leaving for a new home on the South Devon Railway. All parties concerned have agreed that the vehicle (which is sustantially complete internally and in reasonable overall condition) will benefit from a much earlier restoration on the S.D.R. than will be possible on the S.V.R.. Nevertheless many will be sad to see this coach leave 'The Valley' after such a long period in residence. At Dunster on the West Somerset Railway, the long term renovation of 'Toad' 68765 by WSR volunteers is reaching the final stages. Following completion, it is hoped that attention will turn to other vehicles owned by the Fund including Gunpowder Van 105493. Ballast Wagon 80669 has already been fully restored and has been included in the WSR Heritage Goods train. Agreememt has been reached with the Great Western Society, Didcot for restoration work to commence on two vehicles - 'Mica B' Meat Van 105860 and 1930 built Open Wagon 117993. Labour will be provided by GWS volunteers whilst the 813 Fund will finance the purchase of materials. The 'Mica', once restored, will be placed on public display to demonstrate how goods (in this case meat) were transported by rail in days gone by. It is also hoped that, in the not too distant future, work will at last commence on renovation of the unique 'Coral' Glass Wagon 41723 which has been in a parlous state of repair at Didcot for many years. A team of volunteers headed by Oliver Holmes has recently completed a thorough renovation of 1913 built O14 Open Wagon 10931 at Bitton, Avon Valley Railway. Work has included provision of two new headstocks, replacement chassis cross members, springs and timber. Material costs have been met by the 813 Fund. Following completion of this project Olly has commenced work on a second Open Wagon - O11 86582 of 1912 a former resident at Bitton which has returned to the Avon valley after several years in store on the South Devon Railway. Olly is also keen to take on renovation in due course of one or more of the Fund's unrestored wagons currently in store at Honeybourne. It's a pity there weren't more people around like Olly !