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'Firefly'

The project to create the replica 'Firefly' locomotive was devised by John Mosse, and it took some 20 years to get to the finished condition in the photo.

Construction of the chassis commenced in Bristol, before being moved to the Didcot Railway Centre where it was completed. 

On December 19th 2002, with the chassis completed and the drivings wheels jacked up clear of the rails; it was a particularly exciting occasion when a compressed air line was attached to the steam chests.  To the delight and possibly surprise of some present - the wheels turned over.  It was tried it in fore gear and back gear, then left it to run in forward for an hour, turning over at about 5 r.p.m. with 15 psi applied.

The boiler, constructed by Israel Newton & Sons, was put into steam for the first time on 10th October 2002, although it was some time before fully assembled and passed its boiler test.

This 63rd member of the 'Fire Fly' class has the original type of gab valve gear, consisting of two eccentrics central on the crank axle, giving motion to the gabs for fore gear, the back gear eccentrics being outside the cranks.  The gabs are operated by a single reversing lever.  On the GWR locos, this gear was later replaced with Gooch Gear, as the Gab gear did not allow any reduction of cutoff.

Saturday 3th April 2005 was a red-letter day as 'Firefly' was given its first public steaming at its home base at the Didcot Railway Centre.  The formal launch into service was performed by actor Anton Rogers, who broke a bottle of champagne on the locomotive, following which the new 'Firefly' made regular trips with passengers up and down the broad gauge track at Didcot.

This locomotive is currently looked after by the 'Firefly Trust' - many of whom are well known members of the BGS.

'Firefly' is steamed on certain weekends each year at Didcot, giving passenger rides in a third class passenger truck.  Please see the BGS Events page for dates, or vist the  Great Western Society  web-site.