In my previous article I explained that at Didcot Railway Centre we are lucky to have 'Shannon' a small part of the unique Wantage Tramway system that ran from 1875 to 1945.

When we left the previous article, Shannon was at work on the tramway hauling mainly goods trains from Wantage Town to the GWR station at Wantage Road in Grove.

Typically she would have run 12 return trips totalling around 65 miles a day.

Locomotive repair facilities at Wantage were limited so any major overhauls had to be done off site and No 5 'Shannon' has been to Swindon and Bristol for overhauls and certain repairs.

It is believed that she has never had a replacement boiler so if this is true it is remarkable that the boiler lasted 70 years until she was withdrawn.

During her service she was involved in one notable incident.

On January 8, 1936, Shannon was hauling some goods trucks but derailed near to Grove Bridge (A338) and completely blocked the road.

It took until the following day to re-rail and clear the road and tramway; no doubt a major problem even in 1936 let alone in 2017.

Shannon had her last overhaul at Swindon in 1941. Four years later it was all over and the line closed, but the Great Western Railway decided to buy her and displayed her on the platform at Wantage Road station. When Wantage Road station closed in 1965 Shannon was moved to the UKAEA site at Grove. She languished there for a couple of years before it was felt that a better future would be found at the newly-formed Great Western Society's base at Didcot Railway Centre.

So, in 1969, she was again on the move to Didcot where it was decided to see if she could steam again. After some restoration work, she steamed in late 1969. Perhaps her last great achievement was to be in steam at the famous Stockton & Darlington 150 Cavalcade in August 1975 that celebrated the birth of railways. Shannon was a unique living example of a locomotive that was created in the 1850s. However her boiler was giving cause for concern and since the 1970s she has been retired at Didcot.

A decision by her new owners, the National Railway Museum, that it would compromise her integrity if a boiler overhaul and other works were carried out means that she is never likely to steam again. We have carried out a cosmetic overhaul with the locomotive now appearing in a fully lined-out maroon livery. Shannon is on display in our Engine Shed at Didcot Railway Centre.