GWR Mogul 7325

GWR Mogul 7325
7325 20190629.jpg
7325 at Kidderminster, June 2019
Built By GWR Swindon Works
Configuration 2-6-0
Power class GWR: D, BR: 4MT
Axle load class GWR: 9300 Red, 7300 Blue
Status Out of service
Loco Number 7325
Other Numbers 9303, 98425 (TOPS)
Built 1932
Designed By George Jackson Churchward
Type GWR 4300
1964 Withdrawn from service
1975 Arrived on SVR
1992 Entered SVR service
2000 Withdrawn for overhaul
Length 58ft 1¼"
Weight 62t 0cwt
Tractive effort 25,670 lb
Pressure 200 lb/sq in

Steam Locomotives

7325 (originally numbered 9303) is a GWR 4300 Class 2-6-0 (mogul) steam locomotive intended for mixed traffic duties including cross country passenger services, long goods, parcels and excursion trains.

Having introduced a range of standard locomotives designed for heavier services, GWR CME George Jackson Churchward asked his lead draughtsman Harold Holcroft to produce "...a 2-6-0 with 5 foot 8 inch wheels, outside cylinders, the No. 4 boiler and as many standard parts as could be used". The resulting 4300 class first appeared in 1911 and proved successful with 322 built by 1925, sometimes incorporating detailed differences. Their GWR Power and Weight Classification Blue route availability saw them used across the GWR network from London to Birkenhead and Cornwall. However, the sharp curves in Cornwall were found to be causing excessive flange wear on the front driving wheels, so in 1928 65 of the class were altered by moving the buffer beam forward and placing a heavy casting behind it to reduce the wear by increasing the weight on the front pony truck. The extra weight of the modified 8300 series, as they became, put them in the Red route availability and restricted their use to main lines, and by the end of World War 2 most had been converted back.

A final batch of 20 4300s including No 9303 were built in 1932 which, in addition to the extra buffer beam weight, incorporated further design changes by Churchward’s successor, Charles Collett. These included the introduction of side window cabs, outside steam pipes and a screw reverser (as a result of these additional modifications, 7325 is often referred to on the SVR as the "Collett mogul"). The new examples were mainly stationed in the London Division area, but between 1956 and 1959 they also had the extra buffer beam weight removed to increase route availability, being renumbered into the 7300 series at the same time.

Moguls were allocated to local sheds including Shrewsbury and Worcester (both from 1934), Kidderminster Shed (from 1946) and Stourbridge Junction (from 1950). The type (not including those with Red axle load restrictions) operated excursions on the Kidderminster – BewdleyStourport triangle from the 1930s. In the late 1950s four moguls were allocated to Kidderminster Shed to work coal trains from Alveley Colliery to the power stations at Stourport and Buildwas and sugar beet trains to Foley Park.[1] Reallocations meant that, for example, 18 class members were allocated to Kidderminster at some point in their service[2].


9303/7325 in service

The locomotive was completed at Swindon to Lot No. 276. It first entered service in February 1932 as GWR number 9303, and began life allocated to Penzance.[3] The following year 9303 moved to London's Old Oak Common Shed, spending the next 20 years at sheds in the London Division area.[4] Between 1947 and 1950 the locomotive was allocated to Reading.[3]

In 1953, 9303 moved to Tyseley, followed by Banbury two years later. In 1958 No 9303 was renumbered by BR as 7325, who also modified the locomotive at the same time by removing the additional buffer beam weight. After further allocations to Ebbw Junction (Newport) and Severn Tunnel Junction, 7325 was withdrawn from service at Pontypool Road in April 1964[5].

7325 in preservation

7325 arrived at Barry Scrapyard in November 1964. It was one of only two members of the 4300 class preserved and the only "Collett mogul", the other (No. 5322) being an early Churchward example (see below).

In mid-1972 the newly-formed Great Western Locomotive and Carriage Society made '9303'[note 1] its first target for preservation.[6] The following year the Society merged with the Great Western Rolling Stock Fund to become the Great Western (SVR) Association. By spring 1974 volunteers were working on the locomotive at Barry, with the purchase being finalised in May 1974 with the aid of a loan in order to avoid a price increase proposed by Dai Woodham in June of that year.[7]

The locomotive moved from Barry Scrapyard to Worcester on 16 August 1975 in convoy with GWR 2857, arriving on the SVR on 20 August.[8][9] In autumn of that year a raffle organised by the SVRA Stourbridge Branch helped raise funds for the purchase of locomotive.[10] It initially went to Bewdley before moving to Highley around summer 1977 "in store pending full restoration".[11]

By June 1979 it had returned to Bewdley, where the small restoration team was headed by Pete Simpson who was also responsible for the restoration of 4566 and 5164.

Restoration of the mogul began in earnest once those locomotives were completed in July 1975 and October 1979 respectively.[12] In 1982 another SVRA raffle was held to raise funds for work on the boiler and tender which were to be done as a contract job at Bridgnorth Loco Works,[13] and a further raffle organised by the SVRA Stourbridge Branch was held in spring 1988.[14]

During 1983 the boiler was lifted and the frames lifted off the wheels. The wheels had very thin tyres, and the GW(SVR)A acquired another set of wheels from Large Prairie 4156 (which had been scrapped at Barry in 1980) to replace them.[15]

The locomotive was lifted back onto its ex-4156 main driving wheels at Bewdley in July 1988 with the aid of Bridgnorth's steam crane; a few weeks later it was jacked up for the completed pony truck to be added.[16] In early 1989 it temporarily moved to Bridgnorth for the boiler to put back in the frames before returning to Bewdley. Work on the tender at Bridgnorth then involved fabrication of new drag boxes, the front third of the frames and a new floor for the tender tank. The tender then re-joined the locomotive at Bewdley where restoration continued as funds permitted.[17]

By December 1991 the locomotive was "98% complete" and had returned to Bridgnorth for final re-assembly. The boiler had been re-tubed and hydraulically tested.[18] On Thursday 25 June the locomotive moved under its own power for the first time, and after a quick repaint into unlined green, entered service in July 1992 as No 9303. It carried that livery until the end of that year, including appearances at the Autumn Steam Gala and Christmas services, before entering Bridgnorth paint shop to receive a full repaint into BR lined green as No 7325, this livery correctly reflecting the absence of the additional buffer beam weight.[19]

The locomotive's mileage as subsequently reported in SVR News was as follows[20][note 2]:

Year Mileage
1992 4,909
1993 6,754
1994 7,025
1995 6,158
1996 6,015
1997 3,244
1998 8,430
1999 9,582
2000 7,287
Total 59,404

Between 1995 and 1998, 7325 made a number of appearances on the main line, including 'Steam on the Met' and double-heading the first preserved steam on the Lickey Incline. A full list is as follows:

Date Tour name Route Notes Web SVR News
19 May 1995 Kidderminster-Newport-Gloucester-Worcester D/H with 7802 from Gloucester. L/E from Worcester due to hot box on tender. 115-44
04 Nov 1995 Stourbridge - Bristol - Swansea D/H with 70000 Britannia, 7325 failed at Swansea due to hot box on tender. Possible duplicate of 11 November[21]
11 Nov 1995 Stourbridge - Bristol - Swansea D/H with 70000 Britannia from Bristol 117-2
18 May 1996 Steam on the Met London Underground 'Steam on the Met' (2 weekends) SBJ
19 May 1996 Steam on the Met London Underground 'Steam on the Met' (2 weekends) SBJ
25 May 1996 Steam on the Met London Underground 'Steam on the Met' (2 weekends) SBJ 119-58
26 May 1996 Steam on the Met London Underground 'Steam on the Met' (2 weekends) SBJ
27 May 1996 Steam on the Met London Underground 'Steam on the Met' (2 weekends) SBJ
11 Jan 1997 Taffy Apple Worcester-Hereford-Swansea-Gloucester-Worcester D/H with 42968 122-4
25 Oct 1997 Meldon Meanderer Bristol - Exeter - Meldon Quarry D/H with 42968 125-70
08 Nov 1997 Pilgrims Progress Exeter - Plymouth - Bristol D/H with 42968 125-70
15 Nov 1997 Hardy Flyer Bristol Temple Meads - Yeovil Pen Mill - Bristol D/H with 42968 126-48
22 Nov 1997 Lickey Incliner Bristol-Bromsgrove-Stourbridge-Gloucester D/H with 42968, first preserved steam on the Lickey Incline 126-2
31 Jan 1998 Inclined Salopian Gloucester - Lickey Incline - Bescot D/H with 42968 126-49
21 Mar 1998 Chester Chuffer Bescot-Chester + return SBJ
For further information on sources and references, see The Severn Valley Railway on the main line

Having entered service in 1992, it was anticipated that 7325 would be in use until 2002. However the locomotive succumbed to a severely leaking boiler in August 2000 during that year’s 'boiler crisis'.[22] Following a quick cosmetic restoration the locomotive was placed on exhibition at the Steam Museum in Swindon,[note 3] initially for 'a couple of years'.[23]

In late 2005 the SVR announced that the locomotive would return in time for the planned opening of The Engine House in May 2007.[24] After the delay due to the 2007 Storm Damage, 7325 was eventually shunted into The Engine House on 16 March 2008 ready for the public opening five days later.[25] At The Engine House the 'footplate' was accessible to allow visitors to climb aboard and learn how to operate a steam locomotive, and for weddings and civil ceremonies.

In September 2018 the SVR commented that 7325 would take its place in the restoration queue before 7819 Hinton Manor, after work on locomotives under overhaul had progressed.[26] In 2019, for their 50th year, the Association launched a fund to return the mogul to the Collett GWR condition as 9303. A new chimney, smokebox, boiler refurbishment and ‘bottom end’ are required to get the locomotive into running order. A number of supporters formed the Collett Mogul Supporters Group to help with the overhaul.[27] By 2023, over £110,000 was held by the Association in restricted funds.[28] The Association's web site stated “A possible start [on overhaul] could be made during 2019/20”: by 2021 it read "stored in Kidderminster Carriage shed pending a move to Bridgnorth when it can be accommodated".[29] In 2023 "the long-awaited commencement of the overhaul of 9303 is still awaited and looks unlikely to begin until at least late 2024 [..] but there is a lot of pressure from many groups."[28]

In March 2019 7325 was moved from The Engine House to storage in the Kidderminster Carriage Shed, being replaced in The Engine House by 7819. 7325 was available for footplate visits and photographs outside for the first time in many years when displayed in the dock platform at Kidderminster for the duration of the 'Step Back to the 1940s' event in June/July 2019. The locomotive had featured in the wartime-set 1998 made-for-TV film Goodnight Mister Tom, having been cosmetically repainted into somewhat dirty condition with no markings on the tender to disguise its more modern livery. This condition was re-created for the 2019 appearance.[30]

In September 2022 7325 was again displayed in the dock platform during the Heritage Open Day and Autumn Steam Gala, and again for the 2023 Spring Steam Gala.

From April 2023 working parties at Bewdley MPD commenced conservation and preliminary restoration work, concentrating on the tender with planned activities such as a deep clean of the underside, needle-gunning and painting the coal space, restoration of latches on tool lockers and the like. This is intended to assist when the time eventually comes for its overhaul to start. It was therefore viewable as a static exhibit in Rock Siding during the 2023 Step Back to the 1940s event.

Classmate 5322

The other surviving member of the 4300 class, No. 5322, also had a brief association with the SVR in preservation. 5322 is an early Churchward example which was built in 1917 and saw service in France during World War I with the British Army's Railway Operating Division. It was withdrawn from British Railways service in April 1964 and arrived at Barry in November of that year.[31]

In January 1967 SVR News referred to recent announcements in the railway press of a proposal by David Rouse to acquire 5322. At the time, the "scrapping clause" still existed which prevented dealers such as Dai Woodham from buying locos from BR other than to be cut up for scrap. The SVR News article noted that if this could be overcome, the new owners intended to bring the locomotive to Bridgnorth.[32] In the event this 'national appeal' failed and 5322 was instead acquired by a member of the Great Western Society, becoming in September 1969 the first GWR locomotive (and third overall) to leave Barry. After restoration at Caerphilly it was transferred to the Didcot Railway Centre in 1973 where it has been preserved since[33][34].

GWR 6800 Grange class

The role of the 4300 class was later taken over by the Collett-designed 6800 Grange class, first introduced in 1936.[35] No Granges survived into preservation, but a new-build example 6880 Betton Grange was completed in 2024. In 2002 the GW(SVR)A received a request to sell their spare wheelsets to the Betton Grange Group.[36] Although nothing came of the proposal at the time, in 2011 the GW(SVR)A agreed to loan their spare driving wheels to the 6880 Betton Grange Society.[37] They were re-tyred in 2012, with 6880 being wheeled for the first time in 2013.[38]

See also


  1. The GW(SVR)A customarily refers to the locomotive by its original number.
  2. The 1992 mileage was originally reported in SVR News 110 as 5,192 miles.
  3. 7325 was exhibited at the Steam Museum itself, rather than at the adjacent Shopping Centre later occupied by 4930 and 7819.


  1. GWR(SVR)A appeal leaflet
  2. BR Database, 4300 Class
  3. 3.0 3.1 GWR Archive Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  4. Ferris (1995), p. 27.
  5. BRDatabase Retrieved 28 January 2015
  6. SVR News 25
  7. SVR News 31, 32, 87
  8. SVR News 42
  10. SVR News 39
  11. SVR News 44
  12. SVR News 52,87,157
  13. SVR News 63
  14. SVR News 89, 90
  15. SVR News 68/69
  16. SVR News 90
  17. SVR News 93
  18. SVR News 101, 102
  19. SVR News 104, 105, 106
  20. SVR News 152 p. 25., "SVR Steam Locomotive Mileages 1990-2004, Graham Nangreave
  21. Shown as 4 November in Siviter (2008)
  22. SVR News 134
  23. SVR News 136
  24. SVR News 152
  25. SVR News 161
  26. Express Points September 2018
  27. 9303 Appeal leaflet (Retrieved 3 May 2019)
  28. 28.0 28.1 GW(SVR)A annual report 2023
  29. GW(SVR)A website (Retrieved 10 March 2019, 31 January 2021)
  30. Severn Valley Railway 1940s event organiser updates on Facebook, 8 May 2019
  31. Beckett & Hardingham (2010) p. 62.
  32. SVR News 4
  33. Beckett & Hardingham (2010) p. 71.
  34. Didcot Railway Centre
  35. Harold Holcroft, "An Outline of Great Western Locomotive Practice 1837-1947", p.155.
  36. SVR News 142
  38. []