Blog/November 11, 2015: The King is home!
Next week sees the official launch of Swindon 175, and today one of the centrepieces of the celebrations, King George V, arrived at STEAM. Another iconic Swindon-built locomotive, City of Truro, is due to come home tomorrow.
Both locomotives are on loan from the National Railway Museum at York, and will be on display at STEAM for the duration of Swindon 175 and beyond. Swindon 175 is 12 months of events that will mark the anniversary of the foundation of the railway town in 1841.
The King, with its famous bell wrapped in plastic and minus its chimney (which had been removed to allow it to pass under low bridges) came by road, leaving the M4 and quickly negotiating the roadworks at the Bruce Street bridges before arriving at the museum soon after midday; its tender is travelling separately. Then an afternoon of locomotive juggling began.
The museum’s GWR diesel railcar was removed yesterday, bound for York, and Ditcheat Manor had also been brought outside, ready for its temporary removal to allow for the returning locomotives to be installed. For a brief moment the Manor Class and King Class locos passed each other, but paused, side-by-side, to allow the small crowd that had gathered to picture them together.
Meanwhile, Lode Star, which is also being returned to York, was brought out to make way for the new exhibits.
More negotiating of tight corners took place before The King was finally rolled off its low-loader, but the bad news for men from transport specialists Moveright International, who carried out the whole project, was the engine didn’t quite make it all the way on to the traverser outside the museum doors. After a brief attempt to man-handle it the last few inches, the solution was to re-engage the tractor unit that had brought it from York, and pull it into place.
See our gallery, below, but look out for our Winter 2015 edition, which is due out in the first week of December, for much more about The King, arguably the greatest steam locomotive ever built, and City of Truro, the first to travel at 100mph.
Please note: we are happy to allow publishing of images from this website as long as you ask permission and credit us correctly.