GWR 6960 Raveningham Hall

GWR 6960 Raveningham Hall
6960 20141004.jpg
6960 in October 2014
Built By GWR Swindon Works
Configuration 4-6-0
Power class GWR: D, BR: 5MT
Axle load class GWR: Red
Status Awaiting overhaul
Loco Number 6960
Built 1944
Designed By Frederick Hawksworth
Type GWR 6959
1977 Arrived on SVR
1996 Left SVR
2019 Returned to SVR on hire
2021 Out of ticket, left SVR
Length 63ft 0¼"
Weight 75t 16cwt
Tractive effort 27,275 lb
Pressure 225 lb/sq in

Steam Locomotives

6960 Raveningham Hall, a GWR 6959 Class 'Modified Hall', was resident on the SVR between 1977 and 1996 and returned on hire between 2019 and 2021.

The SVR's 4930 Hagley Hall is an example of the original Collett design of the successful 4900 Hall Class mixed traffic locomotive. The Class was first built in the 1920s and the design remained largely unchanged until C.B. Collett retired in 1941. Frederick Hawksworth, his successor as CME, produced the 6959 Modified Hall class of which 71 were built between 1944 and 1950. Although visually similar to the earlier Halls, the modified version incorporated many changes. The re-design included plate frames incorporating a longer wheelbase and extended main frames. Cylinders incorporating improved steam passages were cast separately from the smokebox saddle and bolted to the frames on each side. Increased superheating and a re-designed bogie featured. Hawksworth also produced a re-designed tender with flat high sides, and a number of the 4900 and 6898 Class Halls were equipped with these.

Seven Modified Halls were preserved, including 6960, although one (7927 Willington Hall) is being used as the donor for the 'Grange' and 'County' re-creation projects. Classmates include formerly hired locomotive 6990 Witherslack Hall and former gala visitors 6998 Burton Agnes Hall and 7903 Foremark Hall.


6960 in service

6960 was out-shopped from Swindon in March 1944 as the second member of Lot 350. The locomotive initially operated without cab side windows as part of wartime blackout regulations. In June 1947 it received the name Raveningham Hall after a stately home in East Anglia.[1] The locomotive worked out of London’s Old Oak Common in the 1940s, Reading in the 1950s and latterly Oxford until being withdrawn from service by BR in June 1964.[2]

6960 in preservation

6960 left Barry in October 1972 as the 26th departure and moved to ‘Steamtown’, now the site of West Coast Railways base at Carnforth.[3] There it was acquired by Mr Brian Thomas and following restoration took part in the 1975 Rail 150 celebrations at Shildon.[1]

In May 1977, Brian Thomas moved the locomotive to the SVR, where it continued in service until 1981. Following an overhaul 6960 returned to service in 1983; this second ‘ticket’ lasted the full 10 years to 1993. A third period of service began in late 1995, before the locomotive left the SVR in 1996.

While at the SVR 6960 hauled a number of rail tours on the main line, including being the first SVR based engine to haul a main line rail tour, F&W Railtours "Cathedrals Express" from Hereford to Chester on 8 April 1978.[4] It also acquired the nicknames ‘Ratbag Hall’ and 'Raving Mad Hall'.

During that time it also featured in TV productions filmed on the Severn Valley Railway, such as Surprise Surprise (1984), Miss Marple: 4:50 from Paddington (1987) and Virtual Murder (1992).

While at the SVR Raveningham Hall recorded 69,392 miles as follows:

Year Mileage
1977 380
1978 2,540
1979 3,890
1980 2,300
1981 2,382
1983 115
1984 7,261
1985 6,224
1986 5,514
1987 7,527
1988 4,798
1989 5,144
1990 2,922
1991 8,419
1992 5,399
1993 3,016
1995 51
1996 1,510
Total 69,392

Following a decision by the owner to sell the locomotive, 6960 changed owners and left the Severn Valley Railway in late 1996, initially moving to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway.[5] Between 2009 and 2012 she was restored to running condition and returned to steam. 6960 is now operated by Locomotive Services Limited and was based at the West Somerset Railway.[6] In 2019 an agreement was reached to send 7802 to the WSR between May and October with Raveningham Hall coming to the SVR on hire for a similar period, including the Autumn Steam Gala.[7] This was further extended and the locomotive's last runs were on 1 July 2021, at which point the locomotive's boiler certification expired.[8] In August 2021 'The Railway Magazine' announced that 6960 would go to the One:One Collection museum at Margate for around 18 months, with its future being considered when there was time for a full inspection.[9]

At the end of 2020, 6960 had recorded a total of 74,756 miles in preservation on the SVR. The reported total may include mileage on the main line and on hire to other railways while resident here[10].

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 SVR Stock Book Eighth Edition
  2. BRDatabase
  3. Beckett & Hardingham (2010) p. 74.
  4. SVR News 48
  5. Severn Valley Railway News 121,p. 20.
  6. Locomotive Services Ltd's website 'Icons of Steam'
  7. NBI 21 May 2019
  8. NBI 15 November 2019
  9. The Railway Magazine, August 2021, "Raveningham Hall bows out - next stop Margate"
  10. SVR News 213, SVR-based Steam Locomotive Mileage 2020, Duncan Ballard