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Heritage News

A Tale of Two 28xx’s

Is there any hope at all for 2861?

On our Facebook page, I have just uploaded some photos that show very graphically the arbitrariness of fate when you are a GWR heavy freight locomotive.

If you are 2807, you were built in October 1905, which most likely makes you a Libran, and you are famous for pulling the longest goods train ever recorded. You were withdrawn in 1965 after a long and happy life at a variety of locations on the GWR system, having covered almost 1.5 million miles.  In retirement, you spend a while at the seaside, courtesy of Mr Woodham’s care home before coming to Toddington in the Cotswolds in 1981 for restoration. This took a long while as the impoverished but tenacious team that makes up the Cotswold Steam Preservation Group kept working as funds permitted until you steam again in 2011.

In your old age, you are lovingly cared for by the same team that brought you back to life and they nurse you through all those little ailments that come from old age.

However, if you are 2861, you are a Gemini, being born in June 1918 and spending most of your life at Ebbw Vale Junction before withdrawal in 1963. You are also placed in the rather bracing air of the Barry seaside and that is where you remain. People have come and gone. Some have promised to save you from your fate of decline and neglect but all they ever did was steal your useful parts for their own engines.

You are now all alone. Your doctor says you are depressed and have lost any desire to live. Almost all of your GWR relatives have now gone to new homes, some expecting to undergo radical surgery before they emerge looking very different. Your only companion, 6686, has been taken away and now sulks self- righteously in the back of the shed while you remain in the open and the sea air erodes your very being.

Is there any hope left that someone will save you or has that all now gone? Is there a fairy goidmother like that nice Mr Waterman who can come, wave a wand and save you?

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