5521 is a GWR 2-6-2 tank engine built at Swindon in 1927 for use on branch lines, and spent most of its life in the West Country. It has recently returned from a two-year excursion to Europe, where amongst other things:
- it appeared at the Wolsztyn, Poland spring steam festival in May 2007, 2008 and 2009.
- it steamed through Poland and Slovakia to Hungary in 2007, and back again in 2008.
- it appeared at the Steam Engine Grand Prix in Zvolen, Slovakia and in Budapest, Hungary, in September, 2007.
- on 11 Sept 2007 it piloted the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express on its way back from Istanbul to Venice from Budapest’s Nyugati station to Kelenfold.
- during 2008 it was regularly rostered to operate three daily round-trip suburban passenger trains (36 stops and starts to electric multiple-unit timings) from Wroclaw to Jelcz Laskowice in Poland, under the auspices of the Wolsztyn Experience.
- the locomotive had no failures during its time in Europe and more than once when double-heading had to haul the whole train due to failure of the other (larger) locomotives.
5521 returned from Poland to England by sea in May 2009. It was displayed at the National Railway Museum in York until mid-July, next to King George V and Duchess of Hamilton, both of which travelled to America, and the locomotive that returned from China.
It operated on the North Norfolk Railway, the Dean Forest Railway and briefly at the Avon Valley Railway before being withdrawn at Christmas for examination after two collisions, one on the NNR and one on the DFR.
In 2010 5521 attended the Bodmin & Wenford gala in April, the Didcot Railway Centre’s GWR175 event and then the Dean Forest Railway’s festival celebrating 200 years of the Severn and Wye. In spring 2011 it visited the Spa Valley Railway, and is currently in Bodmin again until the end of the year.
5521 spent most of the last two years at the Bodmin & Wenford and Dean Forest railways, but has been to the Avon Valley, the Swindon and Cricklade and the Battlefield Line in 2012. This winter it is planned to carry out repairs to the front extension frames resulting from the 2009 incidents, and to reprofile the wheels.
|Waiting to depart piloting the Orient Express
11 Sep 2007
|5521 at Jelcz Laskowice
25 Oct 2008
|5521 on the turntable at York Railway Museum
|5521 waiting to depart Wroclaw
5 May 2008