Steam Locomotives of a More Leisurely Era
1927 – ‘Kings’
The largest and most powerful variant of the numerous family of GWR 4-6-0s; thirty were constructed by Collett between 1927 and 1930. They remained the ultimate peak of GWR express design for the rest of the Company’s existence, as after the ill-fated ‘Great Bear’ that railway never again went in for a ‘Pacific’. The new ‘Kings’ in fact were claimed, and indeed have proved themselves in practice, to possess practically as much hauling power as most ‘Pacific’ designs. Their nominal tractive effort actually exceeds the rated value of the LMS, LNER and SR ‘Pacifics.
For many years these engines have worked the principal trains on the West of England main line, including, of course, the ‘Cornish Riviera’, and between Paddington and Birmingham. Several improvements have been effected since the engines first appeared, such as increased superheat, and more recently they have been fitted with double blast pipes and chimneys. In 1935 No. 6014 was disfigured similarly to ‘Castle’ No. 5005 by a hideous sort of semi-streamlining, but like the ‘Castle’ this was soon mercifully removed.
The original engine, No. 6000 ‘King George V’ visited the USA in the same year that it was built for taking part in the Centenary procession of the Baltimore and Ohio Railway, and it still carries on the front end the American type bell with which it was presented.
All were still in service in 1959.
Driving wheels – 6’ 6”, Cylinders – 16½”x 28”, Pressure – 250 lb., Tractive effort – 40300 lb., Weight – 89 tons, BR classification – 8P.