Grange Class Locomotives
In 1961 thirteen thousand steam locomotives were still at work on British Railways. They were a distinctive part of our landscape and national life, fondly remembered by many. But by 1968 they had been entirely eliminated, nearly all meeting their fate at the hands of the scrapman.
During the years of steam’s decline awareness grew of the tragedy that was unfolding. A number were saved by the state, for the nation as part of the national collection housed at the National Railway Museum. A few more were saved by prominent individuals such as the artist David Shepherd or by the pioneer preservation groups such as the Great Western Society. Finally, thanks to the miracle of Dai Woodham’s Barry scrapyard, several hundred of the thirteen thousand still exist today giving pride to those who restore and maintain them and pleasure to many thousands of passengers and bystanders each year.
The legacy of the steam era we enjoy today is a magnificent one, but sadly not a complete one. An important omission is the Great Western Railway’s ‘Grange’ class, not a single example of the 80 built having survived the carnage of the 1960s.