A resident on the railway since returning to steam in 2010, 48274 has been a regular performer in quite a number of guises. The locomotive has led a varied life, being built to an LMS design as a heavier freight version of the already very successful black five (also a visitor to the railway, giving some excellent Stanier double headers over the whole weekend) for the War department, who decided they didn’t need it returning it to the LMS before being sent to Turkey until the late ’80s when it was repatriated – that’s 4 different liveries that are all black and nice and easy to switch between! All of them have been tried out in preservation apart from BR livery, as it was never actually in Britain during the existence of BR steam, so this was a first for this particular locomotive, and all the BR insignia has probably already been taken off, it was strictly for one weekend only.
During the 1930’s the LMS had a bit of a deficit of heavy freight locomotives powerful enough to haul the weighty goods trains. This was Stanier’s answer. On the outbreak of war the War Department ordered a large number of these locomotives but when France was occupied they were no longer necessary. 48274 was originally numbered WD 348 as it appeared for last year’s Wartime in the Cotswolds event but was then sent to the LMS to work there. Just a year later though it was sent on a perilous journey to neutral Turkey along with a number of her classmates. Most of them arrived, but 7 are still rusting away somewhere in the Atlantic as far as I know, and they worked on the Turkish state railways until the 1980s, when 45160 (her Turkish railways number) was saved by the Churchill 8F group and repatriated back to Britain.
The group returned the 8F to Britain in 1989 and it spent a brief time working at the Swanage railway before being withdrawn and taken to the fledgling Railway at Toddington. here it underwent a lengthy overhaul returning to steam in 2010 for the Huge GWR 175 event at the railway, dressed up with yet another number taking on the guise of a Swindon built example. It has been in service ever since with the Turkish ambassador taking to the footplate a couple of years ago. Due to it’s large array of numbers it can choose from, on the railway we simply refer to it as the 8F, as that stays the same all the time, except it doesn’t, on reading they were apparently originally classed as 7F, before being promoted. Ho Hum.