Museum PR Announcements News and Information

National Railway Museum Appeal to Give Winston Churchill Locomotive New Look

The Friends of the National Railway Museum have launched an appeal to raise the money to give iconic locomotive Winston Churchill a new look in time for the 50th anniversary year of the wartime leader’s death.

British Railways No. 34051 Winston Churchill was chosen to haul the wartime Prime Minister’s funeral train from Waterloo to Hanborough on 30th January 1965, watched by millions of mourners worldwide.

Winston Churchill was one of 44 ‘Battle of Britain’ Class locomotives produced by the Southern Railway between 1945 and 1950. They were all named after the people, aircraft, fighter squadrons and airfields involved in the Battle of Britain. Designed by Southern Railway’s Chief Mechanical Engineer Oliver Bulleid, their unique shape and innovative technology set them apart from all other British steam locomotives.

Sir Winston was the first statesman to be given a state funeral in the 20th century, and after the locomotive bearing his name fulfilled its solemn duty, it was earmarked for preservation and joined the National Collection in 1966. Currently on display at the NRM in York, the locomotive is in the same condition it arrived in, and is in urgent need of a cosmetic overhaul.

Chairman of the South of England Group Ian Harrison said:

“We are hoping to raise £35k by the end of the year and are planning a number of fundraising events across the UK. We are starting proceedings with a grand gala dinner at the National Railway Museum on 9 April, where our supporters can enjoy a 4-course dinner, musical entertainment and the chance to win a number of unique prizes. We are determined that the work be carried out in good time for the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s death and the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in 2015.”
A special guest at the gala dinner will be James Lester, who was the fireman on Churchill’s funeral train. James’ railway career began in 1957 as a cleaner at Nine Elms and finished in 2004 as the Traction Officer at Eurostar.

He explained:

“The steam days were always special to me, and my journey on the funeral train stands out in particular. My memories remain with me today and I am giving the proposed restoration of Winston Churchill to its former glory my full support.”

Tickets for the gala dinner cost £55 or £500 for a table of 10. Please phone the Friends office on 01904 636874 or email [email protected] to book. Donations to the appeal should be sent to FNRM (Winston Churchill), Leeman Road, York, Y026 4XJ.

Image: Winston Churchill Locomotive

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *