About this websiteA small gang of volunteer workers meets every two weeks at Didcot Railway Centre, Oxfordshire, England, to push forward the 20+ year restoration of a steam locomotive once destined for the scrap heap. This website intends to record their hard work, dedication and enthusiasm in seeing this project through.
The object of their work, 6023 King Edward II, is a powerful express passenger locomotive built by the Great Western Railway (GWR) in 1930 at their Swindon works.
Like all GWR passenger locomotives she was turned out in green with a copper chimney and brass bonnet.
King Edward II performed over 1,500,000 miles of service pulling trains between London Paddington and the West of England, and also in latter years between Paddington and South Wales or Wolverhampton.
In 1948 the Great Western Railway was amalgamated with the other 3 regional companies in Great Britain to form British Rail.
For a period 6023 was turned out in blue, and it is intended that 6023 will appear in this guise again. Blue was abandoned in the early 1950s and green was re-established before 6023 King Edward II was sent for scrap in 1962.
Although superficially complete in this 2006 shot, she would soon be dismantled for the restoration of the boiler and myriad jobs on pipes, cladding, lubrication system, ashpan and braking system.
At Barry scrapyard 6023 was stripped of all her valuable components, and was later derailed in a shunting accident. Rather than re-rail her, her rear driving wheels were cut through with an acetylene torch.
Considered a hopeless case, and once painted by a sympathetic soul with the words 'we can't save this one', she was left to rot in the sea air. She was raided for parts for other projects, and gradually began to decay into oblivion.
In 1984 she was saved for preservation and moved to Bristol, where she was stripped down and painted. Later she was bought by the Great Western Society at Didcot and the project continued in earnest until the present.
This website is also her story...