GWR Large Prairie 5164
|GWR Large Prairie 5164|
5164 at Highley (2010)
|Built By||GWR Swindon Works|
|Power class||GWR: D, BR: 4MT|
|Axle load class||GWR: Blue|
|Status||Out of Service|
|Designed By||Charles Collett|
|1973||Arrived on SVR|
|1979||Entered service on SVR|
|2014||Withdrawn for overhaul|
|Tractive effort||24,300 lb|
|Pressure||200 lb/sq in|
5164 is a GWR Collett 5101 class 2-6-2T 'Large Prairie'. The 5101 Class was an updated version by CB Collett of Churchward's 1903 3100/5100 Class. Built from 1929 to 1949, these medium-sized tank engines were used all over the GWR network for suburban and local passenger and local freight services. Their increased axle loading of 17 tons 12 cwt was the maximum permitted for 'Blue' route availability, while their power class was rated D (GWR) and 4MT (BR). A total of 140 were produced; after available numbers in the 51xx range were exhausted were exhausted, later examples were numbered in the 41xx range.
A number of the class were allocated to the sheds at Worcester, Kidderminster, Stourbridge and Shrewsbury from where they were regularly used on the Severn Valley Branch on both freight and passenger services after the 1950s. Other examples from Wolverhampton Stafford Road and Tyseley were also seen on the Branch from time to time. The pictures below show classmates 4114 preparing to leave Bridgnorth with a passenger service for Shrewsbury in July 1959, 4175 with an Up goods at Bewdley in April 1962, and 4153 on the coaling road at Kidderminster Shed (undated). Other class members photographed in use on the branch include 4100 in 1955, and 4129. The SVR's 4150 is also a member of the class and having entered service at Stourbridge in 1947, may also have worked on the branch although no photographs are known to exist.
5164 in service
5164 was built at the GWR Swindon Works as part of Lot 259 at a cost of £4,220. The locomotive entered service at Tyseley in November 1930. It remained allocated to the Wolverhampton region until 1956, principally at Tyseley but also at Wolverhampton Stafford Road and Wellington. Duties included the haulage of local trains from Birmingham Snow Hill to Kidderminster and thence onto the Severn Valley Branch itself. During its working life it was allocated to Tyseley 10 times, with the longest stay 3 years and the shortest 4 months.
In August 1956, it was allocated to Newton Abbot, working local trains and also acting as a banker on the Dainton and Rattery Banks. In July 1959, it had an overhaul at Swindon with boiler 5743 being fitted.
5164's last move was to Pontypool Road in October 1961. On 4 April 1963 the loco was condemned with a slipping driving tyre, having amassed 67,447 miles from its last overhaul at Swindon and 811,367 miles in service. It was sold to Barry Scrapyard on 9 October 1963 and moved the following month.
5164 in preservation
By summer 1971, with a 5700 Pannier Tank and 4500 'Small Prairie' already secured for the SVR, purchase of a 'Large Prairie' was seen as the next logical step. A fund was established, organised by Mr. R.E. 'Bob' Sim, and No. 5164 was chosen as the best of the 10 'Large Prairies' at Barry. It was reserved for purchase 'with the usual help from Mr Woodham' while an appeal for fund raising took place.
Purchase was successfully completed at a cost of £2,250. The locomotive was officially the 30th to leave Barry,, arriving on the SVR on 6 January 1973 in the company of GWR 4930 Hagley Hall and GWR 7819 Hinton Manor. The initial owners were The 5164 Preservation Group.
First boiler ticket
Restoration took place at Bewdley, with a team led by Pete Simpson. By September 1974 the engine had been completely stripped down. The tyres all needed reprofiling which, if done, would have left sufficient material for one further turning. However with a loose tyre having brought about the locomotive's withdrawal from service, the decision was taken to replace all the tyres, the work being carried out by the BSC Railway Materials Division at Rotherham. The tanks and bunker were overhauled by Wagon Repairs Ltd of Stoke-on-Trent. The boiler was refitted on 3 May 1976 as part of the '150 ton big lift' which saw the lifting of 5 boilers and 2 frames in a single day. 5164 was not steamed until 20 October 1979, by which time the entire restoration was effectively complete, as by the following week the locomotive had moved to Bridgnorth ready for use on that December's Bridgnorth to Hampton Loade Christmas services. It formally entered service in December, performing faultlessly and recording the highest mileage of the three locomotives used.
5164 was taken out of service in late summer 1980 for some 'finishing touches' and a full repaint. Retuning to service in 1981, the locomotive suffered some frost damage during the following winter but continued in service until being withdrawn due to tube failures in July 1984. Mileage recorded during the first boiler ticket was as follows:
Second boiler ticket
After service ended in July 1984, a heavy overhaul was deemed necessary including boiler crown stays and side stays and a full mechanical repair. 5164 was scheduled to appear as a static exhibit at the following year's GWR 150 exhibition at Swindon, although the event was subsequently cancelled when British Rail Engineering Ltd (BREL) insensitively announced the closure of the Swindon Works in the anniversary year.
A lengthy period out of service in the 'overhaul queue' followed. By the end of 1999 some component refurbishment had been carried out, hampered by the lack of machine shop facilities at Bewdley. By summer 2001 5164 was 'next in line to be put through the shops' at Bridgnorth. In summer 2002 work on the boiler was under way, with the Erlestoke Manor Fund team assisting the boilersmiths in de-tubing and de-staying. The mechanical overhaul was also starting and new side tanks were being fabricated.. The boiler was steamed in mid-2003, and a new hopper ash-pan wad being fabricated to complement the new rocking grate already made by Pete Simpson at Bewdley. The overhaul was completed the following year with a passenger train test run on 12 May.
5164 saw out a full "10 year ticket", including visits to the West Somerset Railway in Autumn 2006 and the Mid Hants Railway in spring 2013. However by 2013 the locomotive was "sounding extremely tired and worn out at the front end" and with valves "playing a tune unbecoming of a steam engine". Service ended in early January 2014, with mileage recorded during the second boiler ticket as follows (X indicates not recorded in SVR News):
Following withdrawal, 5164 resumed its place in the SVR's 'overhaul queue'. In March 2014 it was moved to the Barrow Hill Roundhouse Railway Centre, where it could be stored under cover as a static exhibit. While there it was cared for by members of the owning group, The 5164 Preservation Group. However the Group was an unincorporated organisation with a small and diminishing group of shareholders. In 2020 the remaining shareholders agreed to offer the locomotive to the The Erlestoke Manor Fund for a nominal sum in order to secure the locomotive’s future within an incorporated, charitable organisation strongly affiliated to the SVR..
After negotiations between the Group, the EMF and the SVR, the transfer of ownership to the EMF for a nominal sum was completed in November 2021.
In January 2022 the EMF announced that their members had agreed to a change of the Fund's Articles, allowing fund raising for an overhaul to begin. In July 2022 the EMF announced the launch of an appeal to raise funds to return 5164 to service.
In April 2023 the EMF advised that they had accepted an invitation for 5164 to appear at the Warley Model Railway Exhibition at the Birmingham NEC on 25-26 November 2023, with the movement being used as an effective way of returning the locomotive closer to home ahead of its overhaul actively commencing once 7802 has returned to steam.
Film and television
- Steam Locomotives
- GWR Large Prairie 4141 (classmate resident on the SVR between 1973 and 1988, left before restoration was completed)
- SVR-based locomotives visiting other events
- Classes of locomotives used on the Severn Valley Branch in commercial service
- SVR News 20
- Mitchell and Smith (2007) fig. 98.
- SVR News 16, photo by Brian Moone)
- GWR Archive (Retrieved 28 January 2015).
- EMF Press Release issued 14 December 2021
- BRDatabase Retrieved 28 January 2015
- The Barry Story, Beckett & Hardingham, 2010
- SVR News 40
- SVR News 54, 55
- SVR News 56
- SVR News 63
- SVR News 73
- SVR News 152 pp. 24-25
- SVR News 76 p. 16.
- SVR News 75
- SVR News 136, 140, 142
- SVR News 145, 147
- SVR News 183
- SVR News 184
- SVR News 185 p. 12
- SVR-Online forum thread 'GWR 2-6-2T 5164' (Retrieved 14 February 2017)
- Barrow Hill Roundhouse (Retrieved 26 January 2020)
- EMF Newsletter no 75 August 2020
- EMF Newsletter no 78, November 2021
- EMF Announcement January 2022
- EMF: The Big "Large Prairie" Appeal – Returning 5164 to service (retrieved 1 August 2022)
- EMF Newsletter no 81, April 2023
- 5101 class on Wikipedia
- 5101 tank class introduction on the Great Western Archive
- Unofficial 5164 web site, no longer updated
- Barrow Hill Roundhouse web site