2859 seen at Didcot on 26th February 1939. (Mark Hoofe)
2859 is a GWR heavy freight engine of the 28xx class built at Swindon in May 1918, to a design of George Jackson Churchward's dating from 1903. The engine cost £4,992 when new and £956 for the tender. She hauled heavy freight trains, mainly from coalfields and steel works right across the old GWR system. 2859 worked on occasions from the old Brymbo Steel works (near to Wrexham), particularly in the 1940s. Occasionally the 28xx hauled passenger trains in emergencies and examples were seen sometimes with express headcodes, for example from Shrewsbury.
2859 heads a Southbound freight past Sutton Bridge signalbox, Shrewsbury, on 6th April 1964. (D.K.Jones collection)
The locomotive was the last locomotive repaired at the Stafford Road Works, Wolverhampton, on 14th February 1964. At the time she was given new coupling and connecting rods. The smokebox and boiler were painted up for semi-official works photos that were taken. Stafford Road was a major locomotive works that built GWR engines in the nineteenth and early 20th centuries.
2859 hauls a mixed freight on 14th May 1964. The location is the 'up' main line at Kennington Junction, Oxford. (RHG Simpson)
2859 was officially withdrawn December 1964. From the period between April 1964 and December 1964, 2859 worked from Cardiff East Dock and finally Southall. There are reports that it was brought back into service for a few days in January 1965 at Southall. 2859 was one of the last 3 Churchward 28xx class engines to be withdrawn. Our engine travelled 1,345,561 miles before official withdrawal. She may have also hauled trains a few hundred miles in January 1965 before she travelled 130 miles to Woodham's scrapyard at Barry.
2859 awaits rescue from Woodhams scrapyard at Barry. (Charles Cooksley)
In 1987, the Llangollen Railway Great Western Locomotive Group bought 2859 from Woodham's Scrap yard at Barry. 2859 was cosmetically restored, and position by the old good shed in Llangollen yard, before moving to the bottom of river siding.
2859 after cosmetic restoration into black livery outside the GWR Goods Shed in Llangollen Yard in 1989. (John Rutter)
Looking towards the future, the group bought many thousand pounds' worth of components for 2859 including complete sets of rods, back head cab fittings and so on. However, it was becoming clear that no work would be carried out by LRGWLG as all efforts were being concentrated on 5532. Eventually the group decided to put 2859 up for sale, to help fund 5532's restoration and to give 2859 a chance to be restored sooner rather than later.
2859 on the back road of Llangollen Shed Yard, in June 2015.
On the 6th October 2017, 2859 was sold for £38000 to Paul Walley, Managing Director and Engineer at Cambi UK Engineering. This is Paul's first locomotive restoration, but he has the proven experience in steam restoration, having restoring several traction engines and steam road vehicles with his father and a small team. He also has the facilities and access to the equipment required to conduct loco restorations, and he has the money to make the restoration happen, this point proven when the purchase price was paid within 10 days of the sale being agreed.
Left: 2859 being shunted from the end of the back road after being sold to Paul Walley, ready of her to be collected and moved to her new home.
Right: LRGWLG member Peter Fitzpatrick has one last photo taken with 2859 before she leaves Llangollen.
2859 left Llangollen on the 30th November 2017 and restoration work was started straight away. Paul has stated that he is looking at a minimum of 5 years for before she is back in steam, adding that he would to see 2859 return to Llangollen once the restoration is complete. Who knows, maybe within the next 10 years, we will be able to see 2859 and 5532 side by side in Llangollen yard once more. Only difference, both could be working locomotives. Good Luck 2859, see you again soon.
2859 leaving Llangollen yard on the back of a low loader, heading off to her new home and a home lease of life.
2859 Principal Dimensions
Wheel arrangement: 2-8-0
Power classification: E / 8F
Nominal tractive effort: 35,380 lbs
Weight (including tender): 119 tons
Wheel diameters: 4'7½", 3'2"
Cylinders: Two 18½" x 30"
Boiler pressure: 225psi
Valve gear: Stephenson
Route Availability: Blue