GWR engine no. 6024 ‘King Edward I’ is shown in this excellent photograph by Jon Bowers steaming towards Brunel’s Box Tunnel on Saturday, March 3rd 2012 on its way from Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington.
6024 was built at Swindon Works in June 1930 and during its 32 years of service travelled 1,570,015 miles. It was withdrawn from service in June 1962 and sold to Woodhams Bros, Barry, South Wales from scrap. Fortunately, Mr Woodham did not consign this engine to the scrap heap, it just stood in the yard until rescued by enthusiasts and brought back to life. Since 1990 6024 has been travelling around various preserved lines and also has been doing excellent work on the main lines with special trains.
This photograph was taken in the field off Quarry Hill, just above the tunnel entrance. If you look carefully at the picture, you can just make out a diesel engine marshalled at the rear of the train, there to provide emergency power if needed, which it wasn’t on this day.
I had the pleasure of hearing this engine powering the train through the cutting from the east end of the tunnel and blasting its whistle long and hard past the site of Corsham station. It would be nice to have a few more steam specials through Corsham again, wouldn’t it!!