6023 Nameplate  King Edward II Project  6023 Nameplate

       The restoration of a single chimney Great Western Railway King locomotive from scrap yard condition

Site last updated 3/9/2017

King Edward II is a Great Western Railway (GWR) heavy express steam locomotive, one of only three surviving members of this class of loco. Introduced in the 1920s for hauling express trains over the steep gradients (banks) of South Devon, the Kings were withdrawn in the early 1960s as diesel locomotives replaced them. King Edward II (a.k.a. 6023) spent many years rotting at Barry Scrapyard, and had her rear driving wheels cut through with an oxy-acetylene torch after a shunting accident. This site tells the long story of her restoration to full working order under the leadership of Dennis Howells MBE, and her preparation for main line running under the leadership of Karl Buckingham...

 6023 is back at Didcot after its star appearance at 'Legends of the Great Western' at Old Oak Common on 2nd September 2017, including her first foray onto the real railway since 1962, and her first journeys into Paddington Station! This has been a magnificent effort by Didcot Railway Centre/Great Western Society and the supporting railway agencies who made it all possible.

See News Updates for details & more pictures.

6023 line up

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6023 spent 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 at Didcot Railway Centre as a working locomotive on the demonstration line, between major works on the wheel springs, dampers, electronic equipment required for main line running, GSMR radio, reduction in height by 4"- which led to entirely new draughting  arrangements for the chimney, accurate measurement for gauging through stations and obstructions by the main line, and accurate weighing and spring adjustment of all the axles. There were also myriad other minor jobs to keep her in good condition - not least of which have been regular lubrication, cleaning the paintwork and polishing the mass of brass.

Through the winter of 2013, King Edward II was put to use on the Great Central Railway following boiler repairs, and starred there briefly under the guise of Richard III following the discovery of the the monarch's bones under a car park in nearby Leicester.

King of the Snows - Picture by Duncan Langtree

Photo on the GCR with kind permission of Duncan Langtree

Through June & July 2011, 6023 was based at Dereham on the Mid-Norfolk Railway for running-in, including their Steam Gala weekend of the 16th-17th July 2011

6023 with a train in Dereham

Photo by Richard Varley of the GWS

6023 was in steam publicly for the first time on 2nd & 3rd APRIL 2011 at Didcot Railway Centre.

6023 leaving shed, 75% cut-off                            Photo from HD video by Richard Varley

6023 in front of the crowds at didcot                                Photo by Richard Varley

See Trial & Launch link for many more pictures of our (largely) completed work...

Comparison of two shots of 6023, one in 1950's                                Colour Photo by Phil Neale

All a long way from this...Oil Painting of 6023 rotting at Barry Scrapyard

Oil Painting by Richard Varley of the GWS

And a long way from this humble beginning at Didcot Railway Centre in 1990

All the King's men 1990

Photo by Nick Baxter