7th January 2022 – Swindon Works the Final Years

The meeting on January 7th of the Bristol Group saw 37 members assembled to listen to RCTS President  and Branch chairman Revd Canon Brian Arman’s talk on Swindon Works part Six

Starting the talk with the history of the works just before 1970 with a look at King George V being released from the old stock shed ready to go to Bulmers of Hereford for renovation. Swindon was still overhauling Diesel Hydraulic locos, Harry Robers was the work manager brought in to close the works but he found ways of increasing the workload, for example, building small cabin cruiser boats, overhauling Bristol Buses, and during this time the cooling groups for Class 56 were also built in Swindon.

While renewing the floor in one building a prehistoric skeleton was found.

Swindon tendered and was awarded the contract for a total overhaul of the Kent Coast Electric units, work was also done on DMU and Shunters both 03 and 08, more unusual was converting MK1 coaches to camping coaches. Steam loco 7, 8, and 9 were also overhauled. Harry Roberts managed to increase the workforce from 2,000 to over 4,000 people, during this time Swindon was also scrapping the hydraulics and class 24’s and 40’s. In 1979 Swindon built under licence from Hunslet 20 0-8-0 Diesel shunters for Kenya Rail.

After the work for Kenya Rail, they increased scapping work with 20, 24, 25, 40, and 46 Locos.

Officially closed in 1986 but due to some work still needing to be done, such as wheel lathe and ferrous casting. During 1987 the works finally closed, Tarmac took over the site for redevelopment, some buildings remain with the outlet centre and Swindon Steam Museum

This was a most enjoyable evening and well recommended