2859 was built by the Great Western Railway as a 28XX class locomotive. These locomotives were designed for hauling heavy freight a task that was performed with no known major issues by 2859.
She was built at Swindon in May 1918, to a design of George Jackson Churchward's dating from 1903. The engine cost £4,992 when new and £956 for the tender; in the year 2000 £6000 will just about buy two large connecting rods! Engines of the type were produced in batches from 1905 onwards, and on 25th February 1906, an engine of the class hauled 2,010 tons on a test train. This steam haulage record in Britain lasted from 1906 to the 1980s, when 9F 92203 Black Prince (by then preserved) pulled a train of over 2200 tons. In all, 84 engines were built to Churchward`s design. From 1937 to 1942 a further batch of 83 was built with enlarged cabs and outside steam pipes to modified designs by Charles Collett.
2859, like the rest of her class, hauled heavy freight trains, mainly from coalfields and steel works right across the old GWR system. 2859 worked on occasions from the old Brymbo Steel works (near to Wrexham), particularly in the 1940s. Occasionally the 28xx hauled passenger trains in emergencies and examples were seen sometimes with express headcodes, for example from Shrewsbury.
2859 was the last locomotive repaired at the Stafford Road Works, Wolverhampton, on 14th February 1964. At the time she was given new coupling and connecting rods (long disappeared at Barry!). The smokebox and boiler were painted up for the semi-official works photos that were taken. Stafford Road was a major locomotive works that built GWR engines in the nineteenth and early 20th centuries.
2859 was officially withdrawn December 1964. From the period between April 1964 and December 1964, 2859 worked from Cardiff East Dock and finally Southall. There are reports that it was brought back into service for a few days in January 1965 at Southall. 2859 was one of the last 3 Churchward 28xx class engines to be withdrawn. Our engine travelled 1,345,561 miles before official withdrawal. She may have also hauled trains a few hundred miles in January 1965 before she travelled 130 miles to Woodham's scrapyard at Barry.
In 1987, the Llangollen Railway Great Western Locomotive Group bought 2859 from Woodham's Scrap yard at Barry. Since then, 2859 has been cosmetically restored, and is at present in Llangollen yard. The GWR group is presently restoring its other locomotive 5532.
2859 has been up for sale for a few years now as it is the aim of her current owners to release the funds from the sale of 2859 to help with the restoration of their other locomotive no 5532.
As a result the 2859 Locomotive group was formed with a view to purchasing the locomotive and restoring her to full working order by 2029, the 75th year of her withdrawal.
Southall SHL 11th May 1918
Old Oak Common PDN 3rd September 1921
Newport Ebbw Junction NPT 12th November 1923
Severn Tunnel Junction STJ 5th May 1927
St. Philip's Marsh SPM 9th March 1929
Old Oak Common PDN 14th November 1931
Reading RDG November 1933
Southall SHL December 1934
St. Philip's Marsh SPM 21st October 1936
St. Philip's Marsh 82B 1950
Severn Tunnel Junction 86E April 1951
Cardiff (Canton) 86C September 1957
Pontypool Road 86G 16th December 1959
Withdrawn December 1964
Llangollen 2nd November 1987