Built in April 1937 at Swindon railway works for the Great Western Railway, she was first allocated to Carmarthen, South Wales where she remained until 1951. After being fitted with a three row superheater at Swindon, she was allocated to Plymouth Laira TMD. Her last shed allocation was to Cardiff East Dock, before she was withdrawn in December 1963, and acquired by Woodham Brothers, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan for scrap in May 1964.
Hogwarts Express Edit
In the films the locomotive is depicted pulling a train of four British Rail Mark 1 carriages. Scenes were filmed inside King's Cross railway station, crossing over the Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland and at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway — along with internal scenes on board the train.
When filming, Olton Hall carries a "Hogwarts Express" headboard on the smokebox, featuring the Hogwarts School crest. The same emblem is featured as part of the Hogwarts Railways' sigil on the tender and carriages. She retains her GWR number of 5972, but with alternative nameplates fitted, naming the engine Hogwarts Castle. She is painted in a crimson livery — a non-standard colour, as Great Western Railway locomotives traditionally used Brunswick Green.
Olton Hall is not the first real locomotive to be disguised for hauling the Hogwarts Express. To promote the fourth Harry Potter book Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, Southern Railway West Country Class locomotive 34027 "Taw Valley" was temporarily repainted and renamed. It was rejected by film director Chris Columbus as looking "too modern" for the film but carried the name and colour for some months later.
The renaming as "... Castle" has become a railway preservation joke: "..the Hall that thinks it's a Castle". The Great Western Railway Castle Class engines were a larger type of locomotive.