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The 2857 Society

2857 - click to open larger image in a new window

2857 seen on the River Usk bridge at Newport with the SVR goods train on 10th September 1985. Photo Simon Marshall.

The Society has made remarkable progress since 1972 when it was first founded as the 28xx Society. Today we are a highly motivated team with many different skills and occupational backgrounds. We are always aiming to build on our successes and welcome new members and ideas to our team to assist, either financially, or in the engineering work. Since the recent overhaul of 2857 our current role is keeping a watching brief on the operation and well-being of the loco.

Membership of the active '2857 Society' is open to all, the only requirements are that you become a shareholder, (this can be from as little as five £1 shares, or as many as you like!) and that you pay either a £5 annual subscription, or a one off fee of £50 for lifetime membership. Members receive a copy of '28 Lines' the society newsletter nominally 2 per year. Members are also entitled to discounts on the society's exclusive range of half size Great Western style house number plates in solid cast brass and full size replica number plates as fitted to many preserved ex GWR locomotives.

The prototype of this locomotive was built at Swindon Works in 1903. This was at a time when the Great Western Railway was producing a range of standard locomotives, designed by the railway's Chief Mechanical Engineer, George Jackson Churchward, which were unquestionably the most technically advanced in Britain for their time. Locomotives of this general design, the 28xx class, continued to be produced until 1942 and hauled most of the long distance heavy goods trains on the GWR and BR (W.R.) for sixty years.

No. 2857 was built at a cost, including her tender, of £5,948 and travelled well over 11/4 million miles before withdrawal in 1963 and subsequent sale for scrap to Woodham Brothers at Barry Dock in South Wales.

Purchased from there by the '2857 Society' in 1974 she was moved by rail to the SVR in 1975. An extensive overhaul followed, which included exchanging the badly cracked pair of cylinders dating from 1947 with a pair from a scrapped sister locomotive no 2847, discovered under a pile of coal during the demolition of Briton Ferry Steelworks in South Wales. As with most rebuilds from scrapyard condition all brass and copper components had to be replaced with new items specially manufactured. Much of the steelwork was either severely corroded or badly worn and needed replacement. The boiler was completely overhauled by the SVR Company.

After a triumphal main-line run to Newport, Gwent, with a train of Severn Valley Railway restored wagons as part of the GWR 150th anniversary celebrations in 1985, No. 2857 entered regular passenger service on the SVR. She went on to clock up a further 41,000 miles before expiry of her 10-year boiler certificate in March 1995.

Starting in 1995 the '2857 Society' worked on her overhaul. A new tender body was commissioned from Gloucester based D.G.Welding, a new smokebox door was specially manufactured to the original profile and a new cab has been made here on site at Bewdley. New steelwork for the cab floor structure has been manufactured and galvanised, a new vacuum reservoir made in stainless steel and many other small repair jobs including the thin cladding components have been completed, ready for quick re-assembly. The front buffer beam and dragbox were badly corroded and bent, and replacements have been manufactured and fitted. A new chimney has been cast accurately to the original profile, while a new 'Petticoat Pipe', on the underside of the chimney, has been produced by a specialist firm of metal spinners, making a batch quantity of 27 for sale to other locomotive owners to help offset the high tooling cost of these items. New valve liners were cast in a tough grade of cast iron derived from discussions with South African steam engineer David Wardale.

From 2004 the Society volunteers started work on the overhaul of the boiler under the guidance of the SVR boilersmith at that time Graham Beddow. The work undertaken was quite phenomenal for a bunch of inexperienced volunteers and included cutting the side plates for wedling in of new patches, drilling out of all the boiler stays, manufacture of a new copper tubeplate, building and fitting a new smokebox, fitting a new front tubeplate, removal and subsequent refitting of the foundation ring, fitting over 1200 new stays – in short much of the complex work associated with a full boiler overhaul. The work culminated in a return to steam in 2011 and 2857 has been gaining an enviable reputation for reliability ever since!

Join now and help us work to secure the future of 2857.


© 2857 Society 2007-2011