Published at 16:05 on Thursday 21st February 2019
Tags: WSR, 4110, Large Prairie, Paignton & Dartmouth, Heritage, GWR

Seen in happier days, GWR 5101 Class 2-6-2T No. 4110 stands at Hirwaun on 9th August 1963 with a train from Neath Riverside to Pontypool Road. Today, the locomotive remains unrestored at the West Somerset Railway, but with its newly announced sale to the Paignton & Dartmouth Railway, that looks likely to change Brian Kennedy

Despite having announced only two weeks ago that GWR 5101 class ‘Large Prairie’ No. 4110 would be able to remain on the former Minehead branch, the West Somerset Railway (WSR) has now released a statement to the effect that the locomotive has been sold to another line.

Efforts were made by supporters’ association GWR 4110 Ltd, the West Somerset Railway Association and the West Somerset Railway PLC to raise the necessary funds for the sale and to transfer the ownership of the locomotive from the PLC to the Association. The internal bid, led by GWR 4110 Ltd and supported by the WSRA (who would have taken a shareholding) worked hard in a short period of time to secure sufficient funds but in the end for a number of reasons, including the actual cash sum that might have been raised, were unable to make a competitive bid within the required and limited timescale.

The WSR PLC is presently in a position where it needs the cash for the locomotive immediately and its Directors have had no choice but to maximise the return to the Company in these circumstances. The Directors of GWR 4110 Ltd and the WSRA Trustees have indicated their understanding of this reason the locomotive cannot be made available at a lower price. The Railway is asking those that supported the purchase bid not to see the failure of the sale as a defeat, and has highlighted the enthusiasm shown for the locomotive to remain on the line by those involved.

However, despite not being mentioned in the previous statement from the PLC, the sale is now described as always having been “a moving target as other bidders were involved.” The locomotive has now been sold to the Paignton & Dartmouth Railway, and as part of the sale it has been agreed with the new owners that No. 4110 will make a return to the WSR to appear at a future gala at no cost to the latter.

Paul Orrells, Chair of GWR 4110 Ltd, said: “To all our friends and colleagues, on the WSR and further afield, who took the trouble to offer their encouragement and support we offer our thanks”

The WSRA has received over £13,000 in donations towards the purchase of No. 4110, and any donor who would like their money refunded has been advised to notify the Association’s Jacquie Green of their bank details. Alternatively, the funds can be put towards the overhaul of GWR Mogul No. 9351, which is nearing completion at Williton, or GWR 4500 class ‘Small Prairie’ No. 4561, as this would greatly benefit the Railway by allowing it to strengthen its home fleet in a shorter timescale.

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