Great Western 2-4-0 Locomotives in Great_Britain


Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class 14 (Locobase 2230)

Data from E L Ahrons, The British Railway Locomotive, 1825-1925 (London: Locomotive Publishing Company, 1926).

This pair represented the boad-gauge variant of the Barnums described in Locobase 2229. As the broad gauge was to be phased out in 1892, these two were the only members of this class.

They were converted to standard-gauge 4-4-0s in 1894.


Class 3232 (Locobase 8443)

Data from J. Pearson Pattison, British Railways: Their Passenger Services, ... (London: Cassell & Co, 1893), p 96, and from Graham Glover, British Locomotive Design 1825-1960 (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1967), p.36.

Designed by William Dean as his last class of 2-4-0s. Glover and others say the drivers measured 80 1/2", but the Pattison table, compiled the year after this class was introduced, shows the 78" used in the specs.


Class 3501 (Locobase 3551)

Data from "The BG Locomotives of the Great Western Ry", The Locomotive Magazine, Vol VIII [8] (10 January 1903), p. 20

A William Dean design, this class came in both the standard gauge (used in the Severn Tunnel) and convertible broad gauge.

They operated as tank engines for only a brief time, being converted to tender locomotives in 1890.


Class Barnum (Locobase 2229)

See E L Ahrons, The British Railway Locomotive, 1825-1925 (London: Locomotive Publishing Company, 1926); and "GWR 3206 Class" in Wikipedia at [], last accessed 8 October 2022 for data. See also Steamindex's summary of British Railway Journal articles -- [], last accessed 28 May 2007.

Known as Barnums because they hauled the trains of the American Barnum & Bailey Circus. Although the class as delivered were the last Swindon-built locomotives built with sandwich frames of timber members held between two steel rames. At first the class had a flush firebox casing, many were rebuilt with the square-shouldered Belpaire fireboxes. Some later received cylinders with 26" (660 mm) strokes

Steamindex's summary mentions J E Kite's observation (Volume 2, issue 24) that boiler changes were a frequent ocurrence in the Barnum class: "No. 3217 received twelve boilers and 3219 ten."

Wikipedia, citing Tabor, neatly summarizes this class's careers: "The Barnums were 'express mixed traffic engines' worked [at first] from Swindon to Gloucester and South Wales, and to Weymouth. A few subsequently went to the Northern Division, but in the early 20th century most were at Bristol, Oxford, Swindon and Westbury. By the 1920s they were reduced to branch-line work, apart from a brief spell on the Cambrian main line, and all were withdrawn by early 1937."

See Locobase 2230 for the broad-gauge variant.


Class Leo (Locobase 10194)

Data from "The BG Locomotives of the Great Western Ry", The Locomotive Magazine, Vol VI (July 1901), p. 117.

This path-finding class of goods locomotives broke the 2-2-2 mold when the GWR ordered them from three different builders. R & W Hawthorn's three (works numbers 319-321) were produced in January and March. Their names were Elephant, Buffalo, and Dromedary (hardly zodiacal). Fenton, Murray, and Jackson contributed their 35-37 in April and June; these were named for volcanoes Hecla, Stromboli, and Etna. Finally, Rothwell and Company delivered the sun signs in the their batch (works numbers 66-77), which were named in order of the zodiacal sequence: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, and Pisces.

Like the Suns, however, this was not a successful tender-engine design and all of the locomotives were converted to tank engines by extending the frame back to allow for a fuel bunker and a saddle tank for water was draped over the boiler. Some had 4-ft, 3-in (1.3 m) extensions, other (Sagittarius, e.g.) gained even larger ones of 5 ft 2 in (1.575 m). The latter then claimed an adhesion weight of 38,498 lb and an all-up engine weight of 57,624 lb.


Class Metro tanks - Armstrong (Locobase 20218)

Data from "London Suburban Tank Engines", Railway World, Volume 4, No. 2 (February 1895), p. 44. See also Adrian "GWR locos pt. 1: Medium Metro tanks", 17 March 2010 blogpost, found at [], last accessed 4 July 2017; and G A Sekon, A History of the Great Western Railway, Being the Story of the Broad Gauge, 2nd Ed (London: Digby, Long & Company, 1895), p. 261.

Designed by Joseph Armstrong and built at one of the two big works operated by the Great Western for the relatively independent Metropolitan and District Companies' suburban service. They had inside cylinders, and a brass dome over the leading coupled axle. Armstrong rejected pleas for weather protection over the driver and fireman, claiming that such luxury would likely lead to inattention.

The class's relative long wheelbase prompted speculation that they were hard on their driving wheels' flanges. The 8-foot driving wheelbase shown in the specs actually grew by 3" (76 mm) in the 1871 batch (613-632), and the last 30 (1874-1878's 967-986 and 1401-1420) moved the front carrying axle ahead 6" (152 mm). The engine's wheelbase was now 9" (229 mm) longer than that of the earliest engines.

Railway World established the M&DC's Middle Circle route as linking Aldgate, Kensington, and Mansion House. Adrian commented that the class "single-handedly looked after all the passenger movements on the 'Middle Circleñ services between 1869 and 1906, and also handled the goods services until members of the 633 class were drafted in to help."

"Sekon" (a pseudonym for G A Nokes) said in 1895 that the class was "yet unequalled for quickly obtaining a good rate of speed and for sharp stopping." Thus they had "all the requisites of good tank engines, and are eminently suited for the class of work." Appearances mattered and the engines' "handsome exterior with the profusion of bright brass work ...at once marks them out for general admiration."

Locobase 3206 shows the larger William Dean-built Metro Tanks that first appeared in 1881,


Class Metro tanks - Dean (Locobase 3206)

Data from Glover (1967). See also a history of the Fairford Branch line -- [], last accessed 30 April 2009.

Designed by Joseph Armstrong and built at one of the two big works operated by the Great Western.. They had Belpaire boilers, inside cylinders, and a brass dome over the leading coupled axle.

The Fairford Branch account says of these engines: "These locomotives were synonymous with the Fairford Line during the first half of the twentieth century, and the line was indeed their last stronghold. They were used on the line right up until 1949, when the last example, No. 3588 was withdrawn. "


Class Premier (Locobase 10201)

Data from "The BG Locomotives of the Great Western Ry", The Locomotive Magazine, Vol VI (September 1901), p. 148. Boiler pressure is an estimate.

Both Premier and Great Western were the first locomotives to come out of Swindon if you count in different ways. The lead goods engine of a class of 12, Premier did appear first, but used a boiler constructed elsewhere. (The Great Western was all home-grown.) This class was the last on the broad gauge to use the haystack firebox. Overall the dimensions and areas were quite large and served the GWR well for 20-25 years.


Class Tandem compound (Locobase 3544)

Data from Ernest L Ahrons, "Compound Passenger Engines, Great Western Ry," The Locomotive Magazine, Vol VIII (6 & 13 June 1903), pp. 337, 406-408.

An interesting exploration of the tandem compound by William Dean. A single piston rod served the HP and LP cylinders on each side. Each set was cast as a unit with the LP cylinder leading. An admittedly experimental engine, No 7 (and No 8 for the broad gauge, see Locobase 10339) encountered problems with the bushings for the piston rod and consequent poor lubrication of the LP rod.

No 7 worked for a while on slow trains, but the tandem compound arrangement proved impractical for any fast working. It was converted to a simple-expansion locomotive in 1894.


Class Tandem compound (Locobase 10339)

Data from Ernest L Ahrons, "Compound Passenger Engines, Great Western Ry," The Locomotive Magazine, Vol VIII (6 & 13 June 1903), pp. 406-408.

Locobase 3544 describes the narrow-gauge tandem compound while this entry is concerned with the broad-gauge representative. In terms of the ratio of LP to HP volumes, 8 would come closer to later practice than did narrow-gauge 7. The tandem-compound construction, in which the LP cylinders lay behind the HP cylinders in a common casting, was not to be so favored.

Transmitting power from such a mechanism from cylinders that lay inside the frames to the wheels was a complicated design that required no less than 3 connecting rods. Two extended from the head of the LP cylinder, through stuffing boxes in the cylinder head, past the smaller HP cylinder and meeting the HP's single rod at the crosshead. The valves, for both cylinders on each side, the steam chests of which lay under and inside the line of the cylinders were worked by the same spindle.

The project failed, largely because of the difficulties posed by unequal heat stress on the LP pistons, which broke more than once. 8 never entered regular service until it was converted into a narrow-gauge, simple-expansion locomotive.


Class Victoria (Locobase 3499)

Data from "The BG Locomotives of the Great Western Ry", The Locomotive Magazine, Vol VII (August 1902), p. 124-125. Also see Ahrons (1927) and Glover (1967). Boiler pressure is an estimate.

Designed by Daniel Gooch of Great Western and built at the Swindon Shops, these were derived from the 4-4-0s built a year earlier. All three axles were equalized. They operated on lighter, less-demanding service than the earlier engines, but still went to the scrapyard after only 15-20 years because of the phasing-out of the Broad Gauge.

According to Richard Marshall's web magazine [] (viewed 8 Dec 2004), the 18 locomotives were built in two batches. Eight "5th lot passenger"engines were produced in August-November 1856 and named for crowned heads of Europe and 10 "6th lot passenger" named for famous engineers (Brunel being first, naturally) in May 1863-May 1864.


Class unknown (Locobase 3203)

Designed by Joseph Armstrong and built at one of the two big works operated by the Great Western.

Data from Glover (1967). See Locobase 8118 for what is likely an immediate predecessor.


Class unknown (Locobase 8118)

Data from Scientific American Supplement, No. 458, October 11, 1884, which is reproduced by Project Gutenberg at ftp://sailor.gutenberg.lib.md.us/gutenberg/1/1/6/4/11647/11647-8.txt, accessed 25 January 2007.

Locobase isn't able to pin down the exact counterpart to this detailed description in the supplement. It seems to have preceded the locomotive described in Locobase 3203 and is very similar in its dimensions.


Class unknown (Locobase 3515)

The earliest of the Great Western 2-4-0 tanks, these led the way for several other classes. They were, says Ahrons (1927) "simple, straightforward engines which performed a vast amount of hard work for many years."

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class1432323501BarnumLeo
Locobase ID2230 8443 3551 2229 10194
RailroadGreat WesternGreat WesternGreat WesternGreat WesternGreat Western
CountryGreat BritainGreat BritainGreat BritainGreat BritainGreat Britain
Whyte2-4-02-4-02-4-0T2-4-02-4-0
Number in Class202018
Road Numbers14, 1632323501-35103206-3225
Gauge7'StdStdStd7'
Number Built202018
BuilderGWR - SwindonGWR - WolverhamptonGWR - Swindonseveral
Year18881892188518881841
Valve GearStephensonStephensonGab
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)9 / 2.74 7.75 / 2.36 8.50 / 2.59
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)18.50 / 5.6417 / 5.1817.50 / 5.3312.75 / 3.89
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.49 0.46 0.49
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)31,360 / 14,22537,632 / 17,070
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)69,216 / 31,39658,688 / 26,62075,488 / 34,24165,184 / 29,567
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)98,560 / 44,70685,568 / 38,81399,232 / 45,01195,200 / 43,182
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)72,800 / 33,02272,800 / 33,022
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)158,368 / 71,83599,232 / 45,011168,000 / 76,204
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)3600 / 13.643600 / 13.64540 / 2.05
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT) 4.40 / 4
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)58 / 2949 / 24.5063 / 31.5054 / 27
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)84 / 213478 / 198161 / 154973.50 / 186760 / 1524
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)160 / 11150 / 10.30140 / 9.70160 / 1190 / 6.20
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)20" x 24" / 508x61017.5" x 24" / 445x61017" x 26" / 432x66018" x 24" / 457x61015" x 18" / 381x457
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)15,543 / 7050.1912,014 / 5449.4714,658 / 6648.7614,388 / 6526.295164 / 2342.35
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.45 4.88 5.15 4.53
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)266 - 1.75" / 44245 - 1.75" / 44268 - 1.5" / 38262 - 1.75" / 4494 - 2" / 51
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)11.7510.52 / 3.2111.25 / 3.43 9.08 / 2.77
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)123.40 / 11.47102.70 / 9.54103.29 / 9.60116.10 / 10.7966.60 / 6.19
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)20.80 / 1.9315.50 / 1.4416.20 / 1.5119 / 1.7711.47 / 1.07
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1558 / 144.801367 / 127.041210 / 112.451469 / 136.47468 / 43.49
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1558 / 144.801367 / 127.041210 / 112.451469 / 136.47468 / 43.49
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume178.53204.60177.15207.82127.12
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation33282325226830401032
Same as above plus superheater percentage33282325226830401032
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area19,74415,40514,46118,5765994
Power L155835488359856831958
Power MT355.65412.31210.16384.42

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

ClassMetro tanks - ArmstrongMetro tanks - DeanPremierTandem compoundTandem compound
Locobase ID20218 3206 10201 3544 10339
RailroadGreat WesternGreat WesternGreat WesternGreat WesternGreat Western
CountryGreat BritainGreat BritainGreat BritainGreat BritainGreat Britain
Whyte2-4-0T2-4-0T2-4-02-4-02-4-0
Number in Class60801211
Road Numbers4551445+78
GaugeStdStd7'Std7'
Number Built60801211
BuilderGWR - SwindonGWR - SwindonGWR - SwindonGWR - WolverhamptonGWR - Wolverhampton
Year18691881184618851885
Valve GearStephensonStephensonGabStephensonStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)8 / 2.4414.46 / 4.41 8.33 / 2.54 8.33 / 2.54
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)15.25 / 4.6514.46 / 4.4118.60 / 5.6718.60 / 5.67
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.521 0.45 0.45
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)15.25 / 4.65
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)31,360 / 14,22522,624 / 10,26234,720 / 15,74935,840 / 16,257
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)62,720 / 28,44959,360 / 26,92569,440 / 31,49771,232 / 32,310
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)74,368 / 33,73388,704 / 40,23659,360 / 26,925100,016 / 45,367101,014 / 45,819
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)74,368 / 33,73388,704 / 40,236
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)948 / 3.591100 / 4.17
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)2 / 2
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)52 / 2649 / 24.5058 / 2959 / 29.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)60 / 152460 / 152460 / 152484 / 213484 / 2134
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)140 / 9.70150 / 10.3090 / 6.20180 / 12.40180 / 12.40
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)16" x 24" / 406x61016" x 24" / 406x61016" x 24" / 406x61015" x 21" / 381x53314" x 21" / 356x533
Low Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)23" x 21" / 584x53322" x 21" / 559x533
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)12,186 / 5527.4813,056 / 5922.117834 / 3553.4512,076 / 5477.5910,672 / 4840.74
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.80 7.58 5.75 6.67
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)245 - 1.75" / 44178 - 2" / 51241 - 1.625" / 0241 - 1.625" / 41
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)10.46 / 3.1910.9410.94 / 3.33
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)87 / 8.0899 / 9.20105.91 / 9.84137.70 / 12.80137.70 / 12.80
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)15.75 / 1.4616.40 / 1.5218.33 / 1.7018.33 / 1.70
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1086 / 100.891308 / 121.56982 / 91.261258 / 116.911258 / 116.91
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1086 / 100.891308 / 121.56982 / 91.261258 / 116.911258 / 116.91
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume194.45234.20175.83292.89336.22
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation2205246032993299
Same as above plus superheater percentage2205246032993299
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area12,18014,850953224,78624,786
Power L138134842243648575309
Power MT340.39180.95308.41328.63

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

ClassVictoriaunknownunknownunknown
Locobase ID3499 3203 8118 3515
RailroadGreat WesternGreat WesternGreat WesternGreat Western
CountryGreat BritainGreat BritainGreat BritainGreat Britain
Whyte2-4-02-4-02-4-02-4-0T
Number in Class18
Road Numbers
Gauge7'StdStdStd
Number Built18
BuilderGWR - SwindonGWR - WolverhamptonGWR - WolverhamptonGWR - Wolverhampton
Year1856188518841874
Valve GearStephenson
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m) 7.25 / 2.21 7.75 / 2.36
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)15.50 / 4.7216 / 4.88
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.47 0.48
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)25,312 / 11,48124,640 / 11,177
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)44,744 / 20,29646,480 / 21,08358,240 / 26,417
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)68,656 / 31,14298,560 / 44,70669,440 / 31,49782,320 / 37,340
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)82,320 / 37,340
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)820 / 3.11
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)37 / 18.5039 / 19.5049 / 24.50
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)78 / 198174 / 188078 / 198160 / 1524
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)140 / 9.70140 / 9.70140 / 9.70140 / 9.70
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)16" x 24" / 406x61017" x 24" / 432x61017" x 24" / 432x61016" x 24" / 406x610
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)9374 / 4251.9811,154 / 5059.3810,582 / 4799.9212,186 / 5527.48
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort) 4.77 4.39 4.78
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)193 - 2" / 51248 - 1.625" / 41234 - 1.625" / 41
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m)11.54 / 3.52
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)118.62 / 11.0299 / 9.2097 / 9.0191.50 / 8.50
Grate Area (sq ft / m2)13.50 / 1.2515.50 / 1.4416.25 / 1.5115.60 / 1.45
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1263 / 117.381314 / 122.121164 / 108.18
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)1263 / 117.381314 / 122.121164 / 108.18
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume226.14208.41208.41
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation1890217022752184
Same as above plus superheater percentage1890217022752184
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area16,60713,86013,58012,810
Power L1604851934065
Power MT595.99492.62307.75

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