5029 Nunney Castle was built at Swindon Works in 1934 as one of 171 locomotives in the Castle class. The 80-year old locomotive doesn’t just have its enthusiasts, it has support groups for die-hard 5029 Nunney Castle fanatics who follow it wherever it goes.
Used extensively in films and television series, the iconic 5029 Nunney Castle locomotive spends most of the year taking fans to the Devon and Cornwall coast on the Torbay Express, the Cornish Riviera Express and other mainline and preserved railways.
Wherever it goes, dozens of trainspotters are waiting with their cameras and audio equipment (the real fans swap recordings of the engine and steam whistle).
In the first years of World War II 5029 Nunney Castle was used to bring child evacuees from London to safety in the countryside. In October 1957 the locomotive hauled the Royal Train from London Paddington Station to Gloucester.
Yet the 5029 Nunney Castle almost ended up its existence on the scrap yard. In 1963 the locomotive was withdrawn from active service alongside others in its class. 5029 Nunney Castle was sold in 1964 to Woodham Brothers at Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan.
It arrived at the famous scrap yard in the June where it was to languish for 12 years. 5029 Nunney Castle was in fact the last steam loco delivered to Barry Scrapyard by rail.
It was rescued in May 1976, when it was sold to a consortium consisting of private individuals (50%) and the Great Western Society at Didcot Railway Centre (50%).
The locomotive returned to the main line in 1990. In the mid 1990s, the private consortium took total control and the loco left Didcot for a life on the main line. After a further sale and overhaul, the locomotive returned to the main line in April 2008.
Unfortunately, in November 2014 GWR Castle class No. 5029 Nunney Castle was withdrawn from service following firebox and boiler stay issues. This combined with its boiler ticket nearly at expiry point means it’s likely that the famous locomotive will never return to the mainline again.
If you would like to experience the nostalgic power of steam trains, go to the Icons of Steam website for the latest travel schedule. The closest station to Nunney where you can watch the locomotives up close is usually Frome.