On Thursday 16 May at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire
Railway’s Cheltenham Racecourse, staff and pupils will gather to see a
locomotive named after the school back in the 1930s.
At this time, eight decades ago, the Southern Railway had 40
Schools class engines built – all named after leading Public Schools. The
Southern Railway used to take each new member of the Schools class engines to
the station closest to the school after it was named, if it could.
‘Eton’ went to Eton & Windsor station; ‘Brighton’ to
Brighton, ‘Charterhouse’ to Farncombe station; but that never happened with
‘Cheltenham’ because the town’s stations weren’t part of the Southern Railways
Now, 79 years on and as part of the Gloucestershire
Warwickshire Railway ‘Cotswold Steam Celebration’ over the May Bank Holiday (24
– 27 May) locomotive no. 925 ‘Cheltenham’ will be on loan from the Southern
Dr Alex Peterken, Headmaster of Cheltenham College, commented:
“Back in the 1930s,
the Southern Railway contacted Cheltenham College to ask for permission to name
the locomotive. The Headmaster at the time, Richard Roseveare, agreed and no. 925 ‘Cheltenham’ was born.
In those days,
locomotives were a fundamental mode of transport for pupils travelling to and
from boarding schools. To name them after famous independent schools was a
quirky but fascinating initiative and we are proud to have 925 ‘Cheltenham’ as
part of our heritage.
I would like to
thank the GWR Trust for their concerted efforts to bring the locomotive to
Cheltenham, not only righting the eight-decade omission but also giving our
pupils an insight into the engineering aspect of steam trains.”
College and Cheltenham College Junior School are using this unique opportunity
to encourage pupils to learn about steam trains and the engineering of
‘Cheltenham’. More than 50 pupils, staff and Govennors are looking forward to
the short ceremony to be held at Cheltenham Racecourse station before taking a
round trip on a train hauled by ‘Cheltenham’.