THE HISTORY of the railways has come alive in Swindon with the arrival of one of the most famous engines to come out of the town.

The GWR 2-6-2 Prairie tank 5521 arrived at the Swindon and Cricklade Railway on July 12 and was used over the weekend by dozens of rail enthusiasts.

A spokesman for the railway said: “This 1927 built example of Swindon’s finest GWR engineering, which spent the two years 2007- 9 on the continent, notably in Poland and Hungary, will again be in action over the coming weekend.

“It will now be working on both Saturday and Sunday, as opposed to just the Sunday as was originally planned.

“The good news for families is that this weekend is a “Kids Go free” weekend, whereby any adult or senior purchasing a ticket gets free admission for one child, hopefully providing a good incentive for local families to see and enjoy one of Swindon’s finest.”

The 5521 spent most of its working life on branch lines in the west country, until withdrawal from British Railways in April 1962, having run just over 1,000,000 miles during this period.

The railway is also at pains to point out that, because of the major road works, access to the railway during this time is from the Purton direction only and all visitors should follow the diversion signs.

On Saturdays and Sundays, visitors can access the railway by approaching along Tadpole Lane up until the road is closed due to roadworks. Visitors can then park alongside the right hand verge.

To walk to the railway from here, walk over the River Ray footbridge and into the car park.

For more information on the railway call 01793 771615, email or log on to