Heritage Engineering Skills

Young People’s Introduction to Heritage Mechanical Engineering   

Sunday 11th August 2019

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway


Interested in Engineering?

                Ever considered a hobby or even a career in Heritage Engineering?

                                         Ever wanted to know what goes on behind the scenes?  

                                                        Ever wanted to see the working parts of steam or diesel locomotives?

In conjunction with the popular Bricks event, we will be staging (for one day only) an “Introduction to Skills Day” at Toddington. There will be opportunities to get up close to our fleet of working steam and heritage diesel locomotives as well those that are in the process of a heavy overhaul or restoration. We aim to show what we do, how we do it and hopefully interest a new generation of volunteers in becoming involved.

Displays will demonstrate the procedures that the locos go through and the tools that are required. The restoration project on display will be Great Western Heavy Freight no. 2874 – a loco built in 1918 and withdrawn from service in 1963. Since that time the loco has been sitting outside – you will be able to see the effects!

Guided tours of the loco shed in small groups will show the various stages of work underway as well as views of the working engines that are rarely possible. Knowledgeable volunteers will be on hand to explain what’s going on and answer (most!) questions.  Age restrictions will apply to the tours, unfortunately these are not suitable for those aged 13 and under – 14 to 16 year olds must be accompanied by a responsible adult.  The tour is not suitable for dogs (guide dogs are permitted).

Protective clothing will be provided where necessary but suitable (strong) footwear is essential for the tours.

There will be a limit to the number able to undertake the tours and advance booking is the only way to ensure your place – timed bookings through  –  heritage.skillsengineering@btinternet.com 

The event will be open from 10:00 until 16:30 with timed tours throughout the day.

Free parking will, as always, be available but, at Toddington, in the overflow car park and also at Cheltenham Race Course Station.

Why not travel from Cheltenham Race Course by steam train and make a great day out of it?

Watch this space for further information and for details of booking your timed tour.

Further updates will be posted on the GWSR website click here


The Trust can be contacted by: 

e-mail –         enquiries@2874trust.org  

phone  –  01643 706943 

writing –  22 South Park, Minehead, TA24 8AL

About the 2874 Trust

The legal status   We are The 2874 Trust Limited –   Company Number 9190414 – a private company limited by guarantee – our registered office is at 22 South Park, Minehead, Somerset TA24 8AL – we are a Registered Charity (number 1166258) and are able to claim Gift Aid on donations from HM Revenue & Customs.  The liability of our members is limited – every member of the charity promises, if the charity is dissolved while he or she is a member or within twelve months after he or she ceases to be a member, to contribute such sum (not exceeding £10) as may be demanded of him or her towards payment of the debts and liabilities of the charity incurred before he or she ceases to be a member and of the costs and expenses of the winding up.

The Objects of the Trust   The objects are specifically restricted to the following:

To acquire, restore, preserve, display, operate and maintain either directly or by lending out heritage railway locomotives, tenders, coaches, wagons and all manner of railway artefacts and in particular but without prejudice to the generality above, the heavy freight steam locomotive number 2874.

To provide arrangements for the education, training and certification of individuals in the practicalities, techniques and methods used in the objects described in paragraph 1 above.

To use the charity’s property to promote public knowledge, appreciation  and understanding of the historical, scientific and cultural aspects of the charity’s property , with particular regard to its historical significance, for the benefit of the public.


To put the objects into context – here we have a photograph of 2874 as it stood in early 2014 and one of what we expect it to look like on completion (though the colour scheme may be different)



How we will do it   Raise funds to ensure the locomotive 2874 is restored to a high standard as quickly as possible and then ensure it becomes a working example of this class of heavy freight steam engine on one or more Heritage Railways.  To ensure the maximum number of people can enjoy and appreciate the engineering skills and design expertise of the original builders we anticipate the loco hauling passenger trains as well as demonstrating heritage freight operations (in both Great Western and British Railways operations it was quite usual for the freight locomotives to be pressed into service hauling passenger trains during busy periods so it will be perfectly “authentic” for this loco to be seen on passenger services.


How you can help

  1. By becoming a member of The 2874 Trust – membership costs £20 per year – the application form is available from the Home page
  2. Helping with the fundraising activities that we will be arranging – details will be posted here or on our  “blog” (see Links page)
  3. If you would like to get “hands on” with the restoration contact us and we will gladly get you involved – many skill sets are required and by no means all involve engineering expertise.

Membership costs £20 per year for Adults, £12 Juniors – and a five year membership is available at £80.  We are open for membership and an application form is available on the Home page. 

Meet the Trustees, Our Patrons and President

Patron – Elaine Arthurs                               President – Lady Judy McAlpine


Elaine Arthurs – Elaine is currently an Assistant Curator at STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway in Swindon. She has worked at the Museum for over 12 years and has a passion for the social history of the railway. Elaine, with her colleague, has recently written a book called Wartime GWR. It showcases some of the amazing photographs and documents that Elaine works with as part of her job. Prior to coming to STEAM Elaine worked in other Museums and heritage organisations, including English Heritage, Corsham Heritage Centre and Nottingham City Museums. Elaine currently resides in Wilthire close to family and friends.


President – Lady Judy McAlpine – We were delighted when Lady Judy agreed to become our President and invited us to the 2016 Fawley Hill steam event where we were able to fund raise and publicise the Trust.  Lady Judy is a prominent figure in Henley society and is known for her support for charities as well as caring for the many animals resident in the sanctuary that forms part of her and Sir William’s home at Fawley Hill.  A look at the Fawley Hill website which shows the many activities that come under Lady Judy’s influence will best illustrate the breadth of interests and the support given to many organisations – we very much appreciate that support for our Trust.







Chairman – David Foster David is a retired Civil Servant who worked for Customs and Excise and, post merger with HM Revenue and Customs latterly as a manager in the “large business” division supervising teams looking after the UKs major Oil and Gas companies. DF Prior to this career he owned a road haulage company for many years. Since retirement he has become a volunteer ticket inspector/booking office clerk on the West Somerset Railway and a director/volunteer with Dinmore Manor Locomotive Ltd – he saw loco 7820 looking very sad when awaiting overhaul and decided to help. Away from steam engines he enjoys dog-walking, classical music, reading and taking numerous holidays – primarily in the UK (which always seem to include a heritage railway or two).





Treasurer – John Sampson     John is a retired accountant who worked for the London Branches of an American and an Italian bank in finance and operations. He was involved with finance and administration at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre for 10 years and all my images129spent five years volunteering on the West Somerset Railway after moving to the West Country.  Since moving to Gloucestershire, John now volunteers on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway.  Interests include working with charities, music and sport








Ian Shapter OBE Ian was a Regular Army officer from 1953 to 1987 retiring as a Brigadier. He served in the operational areas of Aden, Borneo, Yemen, Oman and Northern Ireland (twice). Awarded Mention in Despatches in 1972. Seven years with Special Forces. Secondments by Foreign Office to Nigeria and to the Office of the President of Kenya. IAN photo A second career from 1987 to 2000 as a Crown Servant based in Liverpool. Appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for County of Merseyside. Selected as a Non Exec Director of the NW NHS with the task of Lay Chair dealing with complaints against the NHS. Part of the team that purchased 3850 in 1983 and has observed amateur restoration develop into todays professional DMLL Group with four locomotives. Hobbies of Bee Keeping, canal narrow boats and lecturing on the impact of the Longbow in the medieval period (1337-1453)





David Holmes

David  gained a National Diploma in Hotel Keeping and Catering Management, more years ago than he cares to remember.  Moved into the entertainments industry and then into purchasing and became a senior purchasing manger in the NHS.

David Holmes

He then changed direction to work as a retail manager and then a transport and logistics manager Finishing his working career as a broadcaster, creative writer and teacher. He has been involved in railway preservation for over 20 years, serving time in the past as Commercial director at a preserved railway and loco fireman. He has also been involved in most other aspects of railway preservation and operations , including loco restoration and track laying . His first live steam experiences were driving 5 inch  gauge locos “when I were but a lad”.  David has recently taken over as Retail manager at GWSR is also a TTI and works in OTC at GWSR.


Henry Howard Henry is a retired Royal Air Force Navigator, having served for 40 years flying mainly transport aircraft and visiting nearly every nation on earth, as well as working with Special Forces at various hotspots.Henry Howard He spent some time as a Specialist Navigation Systems Instructor in the Department of Air Warfare at the RAF College Cranwell. A life-long lover of transport, Henry joined the GWR Loco Dept in 1995, passing out as a Fireman in 1996. He joined the board of GWR Ltd in 1998 becoming its Chairman in 2000. He was instrumental in its change to the GWR Trust in 2009 remaining as Chairman till December 2014, and is now its Projects Liaison Director. His other interests are the Steam Railways of New Zealand, World Geography and History, Gardening, UK Local Politics and his ever-growing tribe of Grandchildren.



Neil Carr Neil grew up in Oxfordshire and graduated from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1987 with a first class honours degree in electrical engineering. Training as a broadcast engineer with the BBC Neil spent many years working for BBC network and local radio and then commercial radio. Neil Carr In 2005 Neil decided that a change of direction was required and became self employed, still doing freelance studio and broadcast work and also maintenance and restoration of steam locomotives and signal and telegraph installations. Neil is currently employed by the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway as Operations Manager. Always a keen enthusiast of anything technical, especially railways, Neil was heavily involved in the overhaul of Collett 8F 3822 at Didcot Railway Centre. In 2003 this brought him to the GWR (when the GWR hired 3822). In his spare time Neil drives both steam and diesel locomotives, fires and signals at the GWR and enjoys cycling, walking and listening to music.

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