Locomotives owned by the WSRA
Ditcheat Manor no.7821
The second of the last batch of 10 engines of the thirty-strong GWR 7800 class, Ditcheat Manor no 7821 was built by British Railways in 1950.
Ditcheat Manor, No 7821 was initially allocated to Oswestry shed and later Shrewsbury before being moved to Birmingham. In 1959 Ditcheat Manor was reallocated to Newton Abbot, passing through Taunton at times, before being returned to the Cambrian Lines and finally Oxley. The engine was withdrawn in November 1965 and sent to Woodham Brothers scrapyard in Barry, South Wales.
Rescued from Barry in 1981, it was sent to the embryonic Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, before moving to the Llangollen Railway and then Swindon works. Restoration was completed in 1998, when it first steamed on the West Somerset Railway. The loco then worked on the Great Central Railway in Leicestershire, and moved again in 2005 to the Churnet Valley Railway where it served its last months of its boiler ticket in traffic.
In 2008, the West Somerset Railway Association bought 7821 from its private owner. A mechanical examination showed that the locomotive needed extensive and expensive chassis and boiler work, and agreed a static display contract with the Museum of the Great Western Railway, Swindon. The locomotive was subsequently relocated to the museum on 14 November 2010.
In 2018 STEAM museum was gifted it's own locomotive in the shape of 2818 from the NRM. Therefore, with some reluctance it was decided to end the display contract for Ditcheat Manor.
Meanwhile, less than a mile away, the McARthurGlen Designer Outlet centre received the news that the Severn Valley Railway wished to remove no 7819 Hinton Manor which had been on display there since 2007. Round table discussions ensued and a plan emerged.
The big move was confirmed for 21st August 2018. 2818 left the NRM the day before and spent a night at services on the M4, ready and waiting for its new home. At the Designer Outlet, a floor had to be taken up to reveal the rails, and the glass frontage of the building removed. Ditcheat Manor was winched out of Steam onto the transverser, moved across to the road access and pulled back off and onto a low loader. The final move into the Designer Outlet was achieved smoothly the next day and Ditcheat Manor now sits proudly as the major exhibit in a GWR themed McArthurGlen Designer Outlet, that has a footfall of over 3 million visitors each year. Here the locomotive will be safe and dry, and a great ambassador for the West Somerset Railway. Volunteers from STEAM museum will continue keeping her polished and shiny in her new home.
Ditcheat Manor is the third Locomotive targeted for the WSR Locomotive Restoration fund and in due course, when funds are available, will be restored to run on the West Somerset Railway.