TWO locomotives on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway are celebrating birthdays over the weekend of September 14-15.

Both were built at the Great Western Railway’s works at Swindon; locomotive 4270 having reached its centenary while 7903 was built in 1949.

4270 was one of 105 tank locomotives designed by G J Churchward and introduced in 1910.

They were designed to handle heavy mineral traffic over relatively short distances and most, including 4270, which was completed in 1919, were put to work handling coal trains weighing up to 1,000 tons from the South Wales mines to the ports.

So successful were they that many lasted until the end of Western Region steam in the mid-1960s.

After being withdrawn in 1962, 4270 was consigned to the scrapyard at Barry in South Wales, leaving for restoration in 1985.

The engine is now a regular performer on the GWSR’s picturesque 14-mile line between Cheltenham Racecourse and Broadway.

It has also visited a number of other heritage railways. The engine is one of just five of the class to have survived.

No 7903 Foremarke Hall is a modified Hall-class mixed traffic locomotive which was introduced in 1944, as a development of the earlier and successful Hall class.

Although the two classes looked much the same, the modifications produced a highly efficient design capable of handling everything from freight to fast express trains.

71 were built, the last few by British Railways following nationalisation, between 1948 and 1950.

The engine spent most of its life allocated to Old Oak Common and working trains out of London Paddington, on one occasion, handling a boat-train from Plymouth to Paddington and completing the journey in less than four hours.

This year, Foremarke Hall celebrates its 70th birthday. It was withdrawn from British Railways’ service in 1964, rescued from Barry Scrapyard in 1981 and restored on the Swindon and Cricklade Railway. It then moved to the GWSR in 2004.