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A visit to STEAM - Museum of the Great Western Railway

Matt Lovell Craig Weatherley

MATT LOVELL and CRAIG WEATHERLEY have visited the museum of the GWR Works in Swindon.

Isembard Kingdom Brunel

A few months ago Craig and I visited the Swindon Works Museum. Constructed in the 1840s, this site served as the central works for the G.W.R and would carry out the design, construction and repair of hundreds of locomotives.

The Swindon Works were designed and built between 1841 and 1843. GWR Chief Engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel gave his newly appointed head designer Daniel Gooch the job of redesigning the mixed-bag of locomotives which had been bought by the GWR. The location was at a fairly central point on the line, at the junction of the Cheltenham branch.

History of the GWR

The first thing that greets you when you enter the museum is an exhibition showing the history of the Swindon Works, which for a GWR fan like me was very interesting. There is also a display showing how they built the coaches which ran on the GWR.

GWR Coach Building

The next room features the more industrial side of the railway, this showing off the building of locomotives, maintenance and machine workshops, all very interesting.

GWR Locomotive Mainteinance

One of the main attractions in the museum is Locomotive number 4073 "Caerphilly Castle", one of the first locomotives on the GWR to reach 100mph. This locomotive is sat on an inspection pit which then allows you to look underneath and see all the workings.

GWR Caerphilly Castle Steam Locomotive

The Main Hall has a huge collection of different Great Western Railway stock in an attractive setting.

Exhibition Hall Swindon Works

Also on show were road vehicles such as the Mechanical Horse Scammell Lorries.

Scammell Mechanical Horse

Lastly we saw one of the GWR Railcars nicknamed the "Flying Banana". The first of these units entered service in 1934 and continued to run right up until 1962 with only three left in preservation.

GWR Flying Banana Railcar

It was a good day out with lots of interesting items to look at and even a gift shop on the way out.

Although they claimed that the visit was for 'research', management declined to pay Matt and Craig's expenses...

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