A RARE GWR item with royal connections is to return to its Swindon home during the Queen’s Jubilee year.

The sought-after historic piece is one of a pair of ‘splashers’ that originally took pride of place above the great wheels of the famous GWR Castle Class locomotive No. 7037 ‘Swindon’. A splasher is a locomotive’s wheel guard.

Spotted at a recent Railwayana auction by staff at Steam, the splasher has been acquired by the museum.

Steam curator Felicity Jones said: “We were particularly excited to see this splasher become available at auction because we were not aware that it even still existed.”

Built in August 1950 under the umbrella of British Railways, No. 7037 Swindon was the last in the line of GWR’s famous Castle Class express passenger locomotives.

The loco underwent special treatment when it was named at an official naming ceremony on November 15 1950 at Swindon Works, carried out by HRH Princess Elizabeth, as she then was, on her first visit to Swindon. The ceremony was to mark Swindon borough’s own Jubilee.

The locomotive was given the unique honour of being the only engine to have splashers decorated with the Swindon coat of arms.

This distinction made the splasher a must-have acquisition for Steam, particularly as the museum already holds both of the Swindon locomotive nameplates.

“We are thrilled to be uniting the splasher with one of the Swindon nameplates, after all these years apart,” said Felicity.

“Given its royal connections, it is especially significant to bring the splasher back to its Swindon home during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year.”