GWR 4930 Hagley Hall

GWR 4930 Hagley Hall
4930 20131006.jpg
4930 Hagley Hall prior to the 2013 tender exchange
Built By GWR Swindon Works
Configuration 4-6-0
Power class GWR: D, BR: 5MT
Axle load class GWR: Red
Status Under overhaul
Loco Number 4930
Built 1929
Designed By Charles Collett
Type GWR 4900
1972 Purchased by SVR(H)
1973 Arrived on SVR
1979 First steamed in preservation
1986 Withdrawn for overhaul
Length 63ft 0¼"
Weight 75t 0cwt
Tractive effort 27,275 lb
Pressure 225 lb/sq in

Steam Locomotives

4930 Hagley Hall is a GWR Collett 4900 Hall Class locomotive. The Hall was a mixed traffic locomotive, serving a similar role on the GWR to that carried out by the Stanier ‘Black 5’ on the LMS. Stanier worked for the GWR before moving to the LMS, and the Black 5 drew on many of the Hall’s design features. Like the Black 5, the Hall was rated 5MT by BR post-nationalisation, although its wide cylinders meant it was mainly restricted to ex-GWR routes.


4930 Hagley Hall in service

4930 was built in May 1929 at the GWR’s Swindon Works and entered service at the Wolverhampton Stafford Road Depot. As well as Wolverhampton’s Stafford Road and Oxley depots, other pre-War shed allocations included Chester, Tyseley and Leamington as well as brief periods in the south west.

In 1948, 4930 was shedded at Tyseley, but the remainder of her post-War service was mainly spent in the south west, with allocations to Bristol St Phillips Marsh, Weymouth (August 1950), Bristol Bath Road, Westbury, Taunton (March 1959) and Exeter. Final allocations were to London’s Old Oak Common and Swindon.

In Adrian Vaughan’s biography ‘Signalman’s Twilight’, he recounts that on 29 June 1963 4930 was the only spare locomotive available to replace a Western class diesel which failed near Swindon when working a Milford Haven to Paddington express. Supposedly restricted to working low class goods services due to her run-down condition, Hagley Hall was nevertheless timed at 82mph passing Didcot and covered the 53 miles from Didcot to Paddington in 45 minutes.[1] Following this swansong, 4930 was withdrawn from service by BR in December 1963 after a working life of 1,295,236 miles.[2] The locomotive was acquired by Woodham Brothers scrap yard at Barry in May 1964. Viscount Cobham obtained one of the original 'Hagley Hall' nameplates from Lord Beeching, which he lent to the Richard Dunn to have copies cast in preparation for the locomotive's recovery from Barry and subsequent restoration.[3]

4930 Hagley Hall in preservation

Arrival at the SVR

4930 was bought by SVR(H) in June 1972 and was moved from Barry to Bewdley by rail, arriving on 6th January 1973. A six year restoration began, initially at Bewdley and completed at Bridgnorth. A portion of the restoration was led by the late Ray Tranter.

First boiler ticket

Restoration was completed in August 1979 when test running was undertaken. A month later 4930 fully entered service and on 22 September made her main line debut, working double-headed with fellow SVR locomotive LMS 5000 from Hereford to Chester and return with the SVRA “The Inter-City” charter.

4930 hauled the official reopening train for Kidderminster Town Station on 30th July 1984. She made a number of other mainline appearances, notably a storming double-headed run with 7819 Hinton Manor over the South Devon banks during the GWR 150 celebrations in 1985. A full list of those appearances is as follows:

Date Tour name Route Notes Web SVR News
22 Sep 1979 Inter-City Hereford - Chester - Hereford D/H with 45000. 4930 first main line run SBJ 53-12
04 Oct 1980 Deeside Venturer Newport - Hereford - Newport SBJ 56-12
14 Feb 1981 Welsh Marches Express Hereford - Newport - Hereford SBJ 60-30
14 Mar 1981 Welsh Marches Express Hereford - Newport - Hereford SBJ 59-24
?? Oct 1981 Welsh Marches Pullman 4930 worked 2 tours in October 1981 (SVR News) 63-10
17 Oct 1981 Welsh Marches Pullman Shrewsbury - Hereford Locoperf 63-10
20 Mar 1982 Welsh Marches Express Hereford - Newport - Hereford D/H with 45000 SBJ
17 Apr 1982 Welsh Marches Express Hereford - Newport - Hereford D/H with 7812 Erlestoke Manor 64-28
24 Apr 1982 Welsh Marches Pullman Shrewsbury - Hereford D/H with 7812 Erlestoke Manor SBJ 64-29
19 Feb 1983 Welsh Marches Pullman Hereford - Newport - Hereford SBJ 67-30
26 Feb 1983 Welsh Marches Pullman Shrewsbury - Hereford SBJ 68-31
22 Jan 1985 Post Office special B'ham Moor St-Stratford-Leamington Spa-B'ham Moor St PO charter celebrating 150th anniversary of post by rail 76-21
02 Feb 1985 Red Dragon Newport - Swindon - Gloucester SBJ 76-37
08 Apr 1985 Great Western Limited Plymouth - Bristol Temple Meads D/H with 7819 after working L/E from SVR overnight SBJ 76-12
25 Jun 1985 GW150 Exhibition Train Highley-Hereford D/H with 6960 Raveningham Hall 77-26
06 Jul 1985 Western Stalwart Kidderminster - Cardiff Central - Hereford DH with 7029 Clun Castle SBJ 77-40
07 Jul 1985 Great Western Limited Bristol Temple Meads - Totnes (terminated) DH with 5051 Drysllwyn Castle SBJ 77-13
13 Aug 1985 GW150 Celebrations Excursions Swindon Gloucester - Swindon SBJ
30 Dec 1985 Santa Special Kidderminster - Hereford - Kidderminster D/H with 3440 City of Truro SBJ 79-12
22 Mar 1986 Tiddly Dyke Tour(s) Andover - Ludgershall (5 x return) SBJ 80-4
23 Mar 1986 Sunday Steam Specials Andover - Ludgershall (6 x return) 4930 last main line appearance. £600 of tickets at £4.60 were also sold for the Sunday night ECS working to Bristol (alight at Salisbury).[4] 80-4

4930 was withdrawn from service in October 1986 following failure of several boiler stays. Mileage completed during her first (and so far only) boiler ticket was as follows:

Year Mileage
1979 645
1980 4,225
1981 4,746
1982 5,577
1983 3,445
1984 3,244
1985 6,367
1986 4,964
Total 33,213

Current status

4930 has not steamed since 1986, the longest period any current locomotive has spent ‘out of ticket’ after working at the SVR. The intervening years were initially spent in store at Bridgnorth. Following a cosmetic restoration in 1999, 4930 was placed on loan as a static exhibit at the Designer Shopping Complex (sited on the former GWR Swindon Works).

On 7/8 June 2007, 4930 returned from Swindon with the intention of featuring in the new Engine House at Highley. En route 4930 spent a day at the real Hagley Hall courtesy of Lord and Lady Cobham, probably the only time a Hall class locomotive has visited the hall after which it was named.[5] The move into the Engine House was then delayed until 2008 by the storm damage in 2007.

4930’s long-awaited overhaul began with a move from the Engine House to Bridgnorth Loco Works on 6 October 2013. In March 2017 the Friends of Hagley Hall, in partnership with Severn Valley Engineering Services, formulated a detailed programme for completion of the overhaul. This "2020 Vision" envisaged a return to steam in 2020.[6] This was stymied by the 2020 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and as of October 2020 the latest target date is 2022.[7]

  • As part of the overhaul, 4930 will run with the correct Collett style tender rather than her previous Hawksworth style one, following an exchange with the custodians of 6990 Witherslack Hall on 8 October 2013. In 2017 the new tender tank was delivered for work on restoring the tender to continue. By March 2019 the new tender tank was fitted to the refurbished and rewheeled tender chassis.
  • By August 2015 the boiler had been lifted from the frames. On 10 April 2018 it departed from Bridgnorth by road for the workshops of Northern Steam Engineering Ltd. at Stockton, where overhaul commenced. The overhaul completed and the boiler returned in December 2020.
  • The cylinder block was removed and examined. This revealed that the cylinders had been previously patched, and were therefore considered beyond repair. New cylinder blocks were produced: 3D Computer Aided Design work by Stafford Road Design Ltd., casting by Shakespeare Foundry in Preston, Lancashire and machining by Harco Engineering. Machined cylinders returned to Bridgnorth on 14 June 2019.[8]
  • The driving wheels were removed from the frames on 14 July 2018, so they could be sent to the South Devon Railway for fitting new tyres.

Updates on the overhaul can be found on the news section of the Friends of Hagley Hall web site.

4930 is owned by SVR(H), but has its own support group, the Friends of Hagley Hall. By September 2016 the Friends had raised over £110,000 towards the overhaul.[9] In addition, thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant in February 2014 of £95,000 to the Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust Ltd, apprentices from the Heritage Skills Training Academy are playing an active part in this work.[10]

4930’s sister locomotive 4936 Kinlet Hall has visited the SVR on several occasions.

Local connection

Following the GWR's policy of naming locomotives after locations near its lines, 4930 is named after the country house of Hagley Hall, located five miles from Kidderminster. Whilst being transported by road from the Designer Shopping Complex in Swindon back to the Engine House at Highley in June 2007, the locomotive briefly visited the estate. The country house is the home of Viscount Cobham, and in 2012 the 12th Viscount Cobham accepted an invitation to become patron of the Friends of Hagley Hall.[11] In March 2013, one of the original nameplates off the locomotive was permanently loaned for display in the Engine House by Viscount Cobham.[12]

See also