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.
The locomotive was contracted to London Underground in 2013 for their 150th anniversary, painted in maroon and numbered L.150. Subsequently the cab height was reduced to allow the locomotive to operate anywhere on London Underground’s sub-surface lines.
|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
12 Sep 2015