Barry Island 34039 Boscastle 13th Oct 1968

Courtesy P. Hackney

'Boscastle' was sold to Woodham Bros. of Barry in South Wales for scrap and arrived there in September 1965.

A large influx of scrap wagons in 1965 probably prevented most of the locomotives from being cut up straight away, the wagons being far easier to deal with.
Increased interest from preservationists also played a part in persuading the owner, Dai Woodham, to hang onto most of the rusting hulks provided his men had enough other work to keep them occupied.

'Boscastle' had been quietly deteriorating in the scrapyard until 1972, when quite by chance, its fortunes changed.

In 1970 a group of enthusiasts, whose aim was to preserve a section of the Great Central mainline, established a base at Loughborough Central Station and in 1971 formed a charity called 'Main Line Steam Trust Ltd'.
A member of that group, James Tawse, saw in an issue of 'Railway World' a list of 200 ex B.R. steam locomotives at Barry scrapyard and recognising several old favourites amongst them, conceived the idea of purchasing a 'West Country' for use on the preserved Great Central. On a visit to Barry scrapyard with four friends, James was advised that 'Boscastle' was in the best condition and so in November 1972 he purchased the locomotive outright.
'Boscastle' arrived at the Great Central on 22nd January 1973, being the first ex. B.R. 'mainline ' locomotive on the preserved line.

Boscastle at Barry purchased

Courtesy J.Tawse collection

Restoration began almost immediately at Loughborough but took far longer than anyone had anticipated. Funding the restoration proved too much for James and in 1986 he formed the 'Boscastle Locomotive Syndicate' to widen the ownership. A further six years of work ensued before the first fire was lit in the boiler, with the team's efforts finally bearing fruit on 7th November 1992 when 'Boscastle' moved for the first time under its own power.
After a formal launch in 1993 'Boscastle' settled down to work, proving a popular addition to the GCR fleet. On two occasions during its period in traffic, the locomotive acted as an ambassador for the GCR. Its first trip away was in 1994 when the locomotive put in a brief appearance at the Gloucester and Warwickshire Railway, a further visit in 1996 saw 'Boscastle' spend a month at the West Somerset Railway.


Copyright A.J.Morgan

Towards the end of 1996 the locomotive's firebox started to give trouble.After a period out of traffic for repairs, the locomotive returned to service but further trouble was experienced both with boiler tubes and eventually the firebox.
In June 2000 the decision was taken to withdraw 'Boscastle' from traffic pending a full overhaul.