A PLAQUE to railway pioneer Sir Daniel Gooch has been removed for repair.

The brass panel, which was unveiled by the Duchess of Cornwall in 2016, was spotted missing by one Advertiser reader this weekend.

A Great Western Railway spokesman confirmed the plaque had been removed for repair work, countering any suggestion it may have been pilfered by a light-fingered railway memorabilia fanatic.

The monument had been affected by weather damage, GWR said. There was some suggestion it may also have been hit by criminal damage.

“We’ve removed it for repair,” the spokesman added. It is not known when the plaque will be returned.

Unveiled in 2016 by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, the brass block marked the renaming of the area by Swindon Railway Station as Sir Daniel Gooch Place.

Sir Daniel was responsible for ensuring Swindon became an engineering hub. It was thanks to Sir Daniel’s letter to Isambard Kingdom Brunel on September 13, 1840, when he was a 24-year-old railway superintendent, setting out why the engineering centre for the GWR should be built in Swindon, that led to the development of the town as a hub for the Victorian company.