GWR 4-4-0 Dukedog No 9017 (3217) Earl of Berkeley

This interesting and unique locomotive is visiting the South Devon Railway from its home on the Bluebell Railway in Sussex in April 011 and will be the star attraction at the railway's Easter Cambrian Gala, from April 22nd - 25th.

Originally numbered 3217, 9017 was built in 1938 at Swindon and is the only surviving member of the 29-strong 'Dukedog' class of locomotives. They were nicknamed Dukedogs because they were an amalgamation of the chassis of a Bulldog with the boiler of a Duke. 3217 was built from the frames of Bulldog No.3425, built in 1906, and the boiler and cab from Duke class No.3282, originally named Chepstow Castle and built in 1899. A few of the Bulldogs carried the names of Earls, but 3217 did not receive its allocated name until preservation days.

The Dukedogs were regular performers on the lines of the old Cambrian Railways in Wales, alongside our own No 3205. 9017 herself was withdrawn from Oswestry shed in 1960, moving to the then young Bluebell Railway in 1962, where she has been ever since.

The hoped for pairing of 3205 and 9017 at the SDR's Cambrian Gala will relive the days of the Cambrian lines in the 1950s and 1960s.

9017 is currently finished in BR black livery. This will be the first ever visit of a Dukedog to the SDR. 

So why did a GWR locomotive end up on the Bluebell, a railway that is died in the wool Southern Railway? Well, in 1962, the Bluebell was the only passenger carrying standard gauge preserved railway in the country!


GWR Dukedog No 9017 carrying a Cambrian Coast Express headboard while working on the Llangollen Railway. Photo Roy Hennefer.


9017 on home territory climbing Freshfield bank on the Bluebell Railway. Photo Ian Wright.