No. 5775 is a member of the largest class of engine designed and built by the Great Western Railway with a total of 862 constructed between 1929 and 1950. They could be found at work all over the former GWR system and, although designed primarily for shunting duties, they could also be found on local freight and passenger workings. No. 5775 was built at Swindon in 1929 and withdrawn from Pontypool Road in January 1963 when, like several others of the class, it was sold to London Transport for use on the Underground system on, mainly, night time engineers’. In the LT fleet it received the London Transport maroon livery and took the number L89 and served in the capital until it was purchased for preservation by the KWVR in January 1970.
During it preservation history it has sported various liveries. At one point it was painted in the fictitious GN&SR (Great Northern and Southern Railway) caramel livery of ‘The Railway Children’ fame. It has also appeared in London Transport maroon (illustrated) and British Railways green.
It is probably remembered most affectionately by many for its appearance in the 1971 EMI film ‘The Railway Children’ starring Jenny Agutter as ‘Bobby’ when it hauled the Old Gentleman’s saloon and famously skidded to a halt as ‘Bobby’ successfully attracted the driver’s attention to a landslip blocking the line.
The locomotive is now in need of extensive and expensive repairs before it can steam again. However it was cosmetically restored to its GN&SR caramel livery by the National Railway Museum for exhibition at York and Shildon and returned to the KWVR for exhibition at Oxenhope in 2017. The photograph above illustrates the superb finish in which the locomotive is currently exhibited at the NRM.