The life of ‘King’ Class No. 6024 King Edward I has been a complicated, but fortunate one.
It operated for 32 years on the GWR and then Western Region of British Railways until withdrawal from Cardiff Canton shed in 1962. It was then taken to Swindon for a period before being sold for scrap along with sister engine No. 6023 King Edward II. In normal circumstances at that time, that would have been the end for both locomotives but because of a twist of fate, they were to make their way to Dai Woodham’s scrapyard at Barry instead of one at Briton Ferry. This was the beginning of what was to become the saviour for the two ‘Kings’ and of course 211 other locomotives too.
In 1972 the King Preservation Society started a fund to purchase No. 6024 and this quickly resulted in the purchase of the locomotive. It was taken to the Quainton Road site in Buckinghamshire where restoration began in earnest.
Sixteen years later, the engine was ready for test runs, 27 years after it last ran in BR service. It was quite a moment for all concerned and in 1989 it was decided to prepare the ‘King’ for main line operations. From its first test runs on the national network in 1990 and subsequent passenger-hauled trains from Birmingham to Stratford Upon Avon in April 1990, King Edward I has proven to be a real success story. It is now 30 years since it first took its first steps on the main line in preservation and will be enjoyed for many more years to come following its latest overhaul.
DVD – 70 minutes duration