Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era 1895 ‘Duke of Cornwall’ Class Great Western Railway

Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era

1895 ‘Duke of Cornwall’ Class

Great Western Railway

No.3204 ‘Earl of Dartmouth’ as turned out from Swindon in 1936.  This was actually a combined reconstruction of No.3271 ‘Eddystone’ and 3439 ‘Weston-Super-Mare’.

This class consisted originally of sixty engines built between 1895 and 1899, numbered 3252-91 and 3312-31.  The first of them was named ‘Duke of Cornwall’ and they were constructed principally for the hilly routes in the West Country.  Between 1906 and 1909 twenty of them were rebuilt with larger boilers and became in effect a new class, known as the ‘Bulldogs’.  These were renumbered 3300-19 and the forty unconverted engines were condensed into one series as 3252-91.  The ‘Bulldogs’ were eventually added to in considerable numbers by new construction, and this class finally ran from 3300-3454, the later examples having straight frames whereas the earlier ones followed the original ‘Duke’ design with a graceful curve over each of the outside cranks.

GWR 4-4-0 No 3252 ‘Duke of Cornwall’, the founding member of the class, is seen with an inspection coach during the quadrupling of the lines near Knowle and Dorridge. The new track was laid to the south of the existing trackwork as can be seen in this photograph. C1934-6 Built at Swindon works in May 1895 it was superheated in July 1923 requiring a longer smokebox and remained in service until withdrawn from Aberystwyth shed in August 1937 to be scrapped at Swindon works soon afterwards.  warwickshirerailways.com

The unrebuilt ‘Dukes’ continued in service with sundry modifications to the boilers and mountings, but in 1929 No.3265 ‘Tre Pol and Pen’ was rebuilt with a new frame of the straight variety from a scrapped ‘Bulldog’, No.3365, and as such became the prototype for what was nominally a new class introduced in 1936.  Although officially classified as new engines, these were in effect a combination of ‘Dukes’ and ‘Bulldogs’ , the boilers and cabs of the former being allied to the frames of the latter class, in both cases from engines that were being concurrently withdrawn from service.  The result was a hybrid which has for obvious reasons earned itself the nickname of ‘Dukedogs’.  29 of these reconstructions were turned out between 1936 and 1939, numbered 3200-28.  The first ones were originally given the name of ‘Earls’, but these were soon afterwards transferred to new engines of the ‘Castle’ class, since when the ‘Dukedogs’ have remained nameless.

4 – 4 – 0 No 3277 “Earl of Devon” at the shed in 1930.

     This Duke Class locomotive was built in January 1897 for working the gradients of Devon and Cornwall, but these locos were spread around the GWR region in early 1923 when they were replaced by newer locos. In May 1930 the name was removed from the loco when it was rebuilt as an ‘Earl’ or ‘Dukedog’ class of locomotive. 3277 was withdrawn from service in April 1939. amblecotehistorysociety.org.uk

By 1946 only eleven of the original ‘Dukes’ remained, and these were renumbered into the 9000s, corresponding with their original numbers in the 3200s, i.e. No.3254 ‘Cornubia’ became 9054, and so on.  At the same time, ‘Dukedogs’ were altered to 9000-28.  The last of the ‘Dukes’ went in 1951, but most of the ‘Dukedogs’ remained in service until 1957, although two of them had gone in 1948.  By the close of 1959 only about four of these remained.

The ‘Dukes’ themselves had long since disappeared from the Cornish scene, and of later years most of the survivors, together with the ‘Dukedogs’, were to be found on the Cambrian lines in North Wales.

As originally built – Driving wheels – 5’ 7½”,  Cylinders – 18”x 26”,  Pressure – 160 lb.,  Tractive effort – 16848 lb.,  Weight – 46 tons.

As reconstructed – Driving wheels – 5’ 7½”,  Cylinders – 18”x 26”,  Pressure – 180 lb.,  Tractive effort – 18955 lb.,  Weight – 49 tons.

9017 ‘Earl of Berkeley’ “Dukedog” BR 2009

Now painted in BR black departing Horsted Keynes at the Giants of Steam Weekend. Bluebell Railway 24 Oct 2009 – pix42day

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