GWR 2251 Class 3205

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GWRGreat Western Railway 2251 Class 3205
3205 20100925.jpg
3205 in September 2010
Built By GWRGreat Western Railway Swindon Works
Configuration 0-6-0
Power class GWRGreat Western Railway: B, BRBritish Rail or British Railways: 3MTThe British Railways system of classifying steam locomotives by power using a number from 0, least powerful, to 9, most powerful, followed by either F for freight, P for Passenger or MT for Mixed Traffic.
Axle load class GWRGreat Western Railway: Yellow
Status Now at South Devon Railway
Loco Number 3205
Built 1946
Designed By Charles CollettCharles Benjamin Collett, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1922-1941
Type GWRGreat Western Railway 2251
1967 Arrived on SVRSevern Valley Railway
1970 Hauled first passenger service on SVRSevern Valley Railway
1987 left the SVRSevern Valley Railway
Length 53ft 8¼"
Weight 43t 8cwt
Tractive effort 20,155 lb
Pressure 200 lb/sq in

Steam Locomotives

GWRGreat Western Railway CollettCharles Benjamin Collett, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1922-1941 2251 class 0-6-0 no 3205 was resident on the SVRSevern Valley Railway between 1967 and 1987, and was a Gala visitor in 2000 and 2010.

The CollettCharles Benjamin Collett, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway 1922-1941 2251 class was originally designed to replace the DeanWilliam Dean, Chief Locomotive Engineer of the Great Western Railway 1877-1902 goods engines in use on lightly laid lines in Central Wales. 120 were built between 1930 and 1948. They saw use on most parts of the former GWRGreat Western Railway system, working short haul main line trains and branch passenger services. They were withdrawn from service between December 1958 and June 1965; 3205 is the only surviving example[1].

A number of the class including 3205 were used on the Severn Valley Branch from the mid 1950s onward, mostly operating from Shrewsbury although No. 2207 was housed at Kidderminster Shed. As well as freight duties, they worked occasional summer Sunday passenger trains[2].


3205 was built at Swindon and entered service in October 1946 allocated to Gloucester Horton Road, although spending most of her time at its sub-shed at Cheltenham. In June 1955 the locomotive spent 3 months at Worcester before returning to Gloucester, with a permanent move to Worcester taking place in October 1956. In August 1960 3205 moved to Shrewsbury; being recorded on a passenger service on the Branch in 1961.[2] Three months in summer 1961 were spent at Machynlleth before returning to Shrewsbury’s sub-shed at Craven Arms.

By 1963 3205 was spending most of her time in storage out of use, initially at Hereford and later at Exmouth Junction. She was steamed again in March 1965 to work "The Exmoor Ranger" railtour, and in May 1965 moved to the S&D Templecome shed for a final few weeks. She was withdrawn from service in June 1965, but had one final duty on 2 October 1965, working the leg of the Ian Allen "Pendennis Castle Special railtour" from Exeter to Totnes with another GWRGreat Western Railway locomotive, 4555, as a positioning move to deliver the locomotives and four BRBritish Rail or British Railways(W) auto trailers into preservation [3][4].


When 3205 was withdrawn from service in 1965, she was bought for preservation by the 2251 Fund based at the newly-formed Dart Valley Railway (now the South Devon Railway).[5] After arrival on 2 October 1965, the fire was dropped and the locomotive remained out use, although receiving close attention from its owners.[4] The first passenger trains would not run on the Dart Valley Railway until April 1969[6].

First period of SVRSevern Valley Railway service

In 1967 3205 became the first locomotive on the fledgling SVRSevern Valley Railway. She was hauled dead with motion disconnected from Totnes to Stourbridge on 22nd February 1967,[7] and travelled onwards to Bridgnorth under her own steam on 25th March accompanied by 4 coaches including GWR 6562 which is still at the SVRSevern Valley Railway. The locomotive was steamed on a number of "Gala" occasions between then and the official opening day in May 1970; the absence of a Light Railway Order meaning the public would purchase a ‘Day Membership’ which allowed them to travel for free!

On Friday 15 September 1967 3205 left the SVRSevern Valley Railway by rail in steam to attend the third GWSGreat Western Society open day at Taplow. After the event ended on Saturday, the locomotive returned to Didcot where she was stabled before returning to the SVRSevern Valley Railway on the following Monday.[8]

On 27 September 1969, 46443 and 3205 together with a number of other items of SVRSevern Valley Railway rolling stock were piloted by a BRBritish Rail or British Railways Class 47 from Bewdley to Tyseley to take part in an open day there, where 3205 won the award for the best restored visiting locomotive.[9] 3205 had both originally arrived on the SVRSevern Valley Railway facing south and returned facing in the same direction.

On opening day, 23 May 1970, 3205 hauled the first service train from Bridgnorth. By early December 1970 the locomotive had recorded 900 miles in traffic before suffering a "...spectacular tube failure", requiring a partial re-tube to be carried out in early 1971. This was completed just before Easter, but the first day of operation saw issues with both big ends and the locomotive was withdrawn again for several months while the big ends were re-metalled and re-fitted.[10]. As a result only 80 miles in traffic were recorded in 1971.

In spring 1972 SVRSevern Valley Railway News noted that 3205 had been "bedevilled by minor ills, notably piston packing troubles and steam and lubricator pipe leaks, following complete re-tubing".[11] On Sunday 21 May, 3205 and newly restored 5764 were in service together, the first occasion on which two GWRGreat Western Railway locomotives had shared Severn Valley passenger services since the 1960s.[12].

In early 1973 3205 spent several months out of traffic while a new ashpan was fitted, with other repairs being required later that year,[13] by which time a foundation ring rivet had failed in the back corner of the firebox.[14] At the end of the year 3205 had recorded 2,426 miles in service since arrival in 1967[15].

Heavy overhaul 1974-1979

After spending early 1974 as standby locomotive but without being used, the return to traffic of 46443 allowed a major overhaul to begin. It was initially thought that this would mainly involve heavy boiler repairs together with re-metalling the motion and a tender overhaul and would take "most of the year".[16] The tender work included reconstructing the badly wasted sub-frames and fitting a new bottom to the tank and coal space.[17] By September 1975 the boiler has been almost completely re-stayed and a successful hydraulic test carried out, while the estimated completion date had moved to 1977.[18]

When the valves and pistons were removed in early 1976, a visitor who had formerly worked at Tyseley Depot remarked "They've had their chips, valve faces worn out".[14] Remedying this required removal and splitting of the two halves of the cylinder block to fit new iron faces on which the slide valve operate. At that time the casting of replacement cylinders was considered all but impossible. It is thought that this repair may have been the first time in standard gauge preservation that a cylinder block was split. Nowadays, of course, the fitting of replacement cylinders is becoming the norm. The cylinders had been split by autumn 1976[19] and work had begun on the new valve face castings by the following spring.[20] Work continued slowly and carefully, and by the end of 1977 the cylinders had been bolted back together, placed in the frames, re-aligned and fitted bolts put in place. Work on the axle boxes had also been completed allowing the locomotive to be re-wheeled on 31 December 1977 using the newly-acquired 30 ton steam crane.[21]

Re-assembly continued the following year and by autumn 1978 the mechanical side of 3205's overhaul was complete, but a decision had been made to re-tube the boiler, the thinness of the flue tubes when removed underlining the wisdom of this.[22] A third hydraulic test during the extensive refit was passed in late August 1979 and the boiler reunited with the frames for the first time for 5 years (SVRSevern Valley Railway News commented that by this time, a test of one's SVRSevern Valley Railway seniority could be based on whether or not you could remember 3205 in its complete state!).[23] The marathon overhaul was finally completed in late 1979, with the locomotive recording just 2 miles in service.

Second period of SVRSevern Valley Railway service

3205 at Rainhill in 1980
3205 was one of 5 SVRSevern Valley Railway steam locomotives (out of a total of 31 at the event) which took part in the grand parade at the Rocket 150 celebrations at Rainhill in May 1980.[24]

3205’s second period of SVRSevern Valley Railway service ended at the end of 1984 with firebox issues, the boiler inspector prescribing "flange rivets out!"[25] By that time the locomotive had recorded a total of 10,541 miles in traffic. A planned static appearance at the GWRGreat Western Railway 150 exhibition at Swindon in 1985 fell through when the event was cancelled and although generally mechanically sound, the locomotive was stored awaiting removal of the boiler for repair. In late 1986 it was announced that the owner had decided that 3205 would be leaving[26] and 3205 left the SVRSevern Valley Railway in March 1987, initially to the West Somerset Railway before returning to the South Devon Railway in 1998.

SVRSevern Valley Railway Gala appearances since

3205 made a return visit in May 2000 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the opening of the SVRSevern Valley Railway in 1970, and made another welcome return visit to the SVRSevern Valley Railway as a guest at the Autumn 2010 Steam Gala, having completed a major overhaul in May that year.

See also


  1. Great Western Archive
  2. 2.0 2.1 Smith (1968) p. 46.
  3. BRDatabase
  4. 4.0 4.1 SVRSevern Valley Railway News 6, April 1967
  5. SDR web page for 3205
  6. South Devon Railway Line History
  7. A G Cleaver, "The Early Days Of The 'Severn Valley'", SVRSevern Valley Railway News 190 (2015) p19
  8. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 7
  9. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 14
  10. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 20
  11. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 23
  12. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 24
  13. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 30
  14. 14.0 14.1 SVRSevern Valley Railway News 39
  15. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 58 Winter 1980/81, p.34., "Steam Locomotive Mileages for the Decade"
  16. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 31
  17. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 33
  18. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 37
  19. Picture in SVRSevern Valley Railway News 41
  20. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 43
  21. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 46
  22. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 49
  23. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 53
  24. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 56. The event programme suggest the total was 30 steam locomotives.
  25. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 74
  26. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 82, 84