11th March 2019 · Swindon Works -The Golden Years- Plus [From 1914]

Rev Canon Brian Arman (Bristol)

On March 11th Society President Brian Arman paid a return visit to present Swindon Works-The Golden Years plus(1914 onwards) .

We started with The Trip, a series of special trains run for employees during the works closure in the first week of July. The varied destinations included St Ives, Falmouth,Tenby and Birkenhead with others opting for day trips to places like Weston-Super-Mare.

During the Great War the works was heavily involved in the manufacture of Field Guns, munitions and also the conversion of coaching stock as ambulance trains for the transportation of casualties. Also some employees made the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefield especially in the 1916 Battle of The Somme.

Post war much of the GWR rolling stock fleet was in a run down state and with the grouping, more run down stock was inherited from the smaller companies, some of it out of use for many years. Charles Collett replaced George Churchward as CME in 1922 and endeavoured to reorganise the way overhauls were undertaken in order to minimise the period in works, sometimes having to repair stock before it was replaced. A royal visit in 1924 by the King and Queen was featured with the King being permitted to drive Castle Class Loco 4082 Windsor Castle from the works to the station. Collett was responsible for much updating of the GWR Locomotive fleet and introduced the Castles, Kings and Halls to replace earlier designs, as well as tank engines for South Wales rural and urban services in the region.

The locomotive exchange trials of 1925 and 1948 were shown including a Class A1 at Newton Abbot in 1925 and a King at Wakefield Westgate in 1948.

Unfortunately we ran out of time to complete the presentation so Brian will return next year.