Monday, February 9, 2009

Cookham Manor now in Didcot

The Railway has been part of Cookham since the 1850's.
It was while searching through files on the history of Cookham Manor that I came across this article and photo of Manor Class 7808 engine of the GWR. Also it has been retired as a working model of this class in Didcot. Here are some of the history and facts provided by the Great Western Railway Preservation Society, to who we are most grateful.
As long ago as 1901 the traffic department of the Great Western asked for this type of locomotive. It was a very long time in coming, although the 'Halls' and 'Granges' filled the need except that they suffered route restrictions due to their heavier weight.
The first twenty 'Manors', built before world war two, incorporated the wheels and motion of withdrawn 43XX class engines. The last ten were built by BR in 1950. The 'Manors' were originally allocated to various English depots, but in 1943 several were transferred to the North Wales area, being the first modern passenger engines seen there.
Detail design modifications over the years have greatly improved the performance of the class. Their light weight makes them ideal for use in preservation: no fewer than eight have survived.
7808 is the only 'Manor' obtained directly on withdrawal by BR. Bought by a Society member in 1965, it ran from Gloucester depot in steam to Ashchurch, where it was based with 6697, until they both came to Didcot in 1970. A very sprightly member of its class and held in high regard by crews, before withdrawal it had, very unusually for its class, been fitted with a larger 4,000 gallon tender. 'Cookham Manor' has seen considerable main line use on special trains organised by the Society, but currently has 'static' preservation status.

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