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GWR 4300 Class

GWR 4300 Class

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The Great Western Railway
Great Western Railway
The Great Western Railway was a British railway company that linked London with the south-west and west of England and most of Wales. It was founded in 1833, received its enabling Act of Parliament in 1835 and ran its first trains in 1838...

 (GWR) 4300 Class is a class of 2-6-0
Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives, 2-6-0 represents the wheel arrangement of two leading wheels on one axle, usually in a leading truck, six powered and coupled driving wheels on three axles, and no trailing wheels. This arrangement is commonly called a Mogul...

 (mogul) steam locomotive
Steam locomotive
A steam locomotive is a railway locomotive that produces its power through a steam engine. These locomotives are fueled by burning some combustible material, usually coal, wood or oil, to produce steam in a boiler, which drives the steam engine...



The class was introduced in 1911 to a G.J. Churchward design. 342 were built until 1932. They were initially numbered in the 4300-99, 5300-99, 6300 - 6399 and 7300 - 7321 ranges.

The 4300 Moguls were the maids of all work on the GWR network and later the Western Region of British Railways.
Employing a Standard number 4 boiler and the support struts similar to those fitted to the '2800' class, the class very quickly earned an excellent reputation in its ability to handle most types of traffic, from local stopping goods to main line expresses.

After the first twenty locomotives were built, the frames of subsequent engines were lengthened by 9 inches at the rear to give better access for maintenance as well as providing more room in the cab.

Of the class 88 were withdrawn in the 1930s, and the wheels and motion of 80 were used for the Grange Class and 8 for Manor Class
GWR 7800 Class
The Great Western Railway 7800 Class or Manor Class is a class of 4-6-0 steam locomotive. They were designed as a lighter version of the GWR Grange Class, giving them a wider Route Availability. Like the 'Granges', the 'Manors' used parts from the GWR 4300 Class Moguls but just on the first batch...

 engines. The advent of the Second World War in 1939 brought a halt to the conversions.

Eleven examples of the class were transported to France during World War I in the service of the Railway Operating Division of the British Army and these were 5319 - 5326 and 5328 - 5330. One survives in preservation.

Of the 342 engines built only two have been preserved.

Modifications to the class

In 1925 7300–7304 were modified for better balance and had detail alterations.

Between January and March 1928, due to problems with wear of the flange
A flange is an external or internal ridge, or rim , for strength, as the flange of an iron beam such as an I-beam or a T-beam; or for attachment to another object, as the flange on the end of a pipe, steam cylinder, etc., or on the lens mount of a camera; or for a flange of a rail car or tram wheel...

s of the leading pony truck
Pony truck
A pony truck, in railway terminology, is a leading truck with only two wheels.Its invention is generally credited to Levi Bissell, who devised one in 1857 and patented it the following year. Hence the term Bissel bogie or axle is used in continental Europe...

, 65 engines of 5300 series received additional weight on the pony truck.

In 1932, Charles Collett
Charles Collett
Charles Benjamin Collett was chief mechanical engineer of the Great Western Railway from 1922 to 1941. He designed the GWR's 4-6-0 Castle and King Class express passenger locomotives.-Career:...

 modified the original design and introduced 9300 - 9319 with side window cabs, outside steam pipes and a screw reverse .

5300–99 were renumbered 8300-399 between 1944 and 1948. After passing into British Railways ownership, the Collett locos 9300–19 were modified back to light buffer beam design and were renumbered 7322–7341 between 1956 and 1959.

6320 was converted to oil firing between 1947 and it was removed in 1949.

The last were withdrawn in 1964.


Only two have survived to preservation:
Number Built Location Current status Notes
5322 (ex-8322) 1917 Didcot Railway Centre
Didcot Railway Centre
Didcot Railway Centre, located in the town of Didcot in the English county of Oxfordshire, is based around the site of a comprehensive "engine shed" which became redundant after the nationalisation of the UK railways, due to the gradual changeover from steam to diesel motive power.-Description:The...

Operational One of 11 locos exported to France in World War I.
Painted in Rail Operating Division livery
7325 (ex-9303) 1932 Severn Valley Railway
Severn Valley Railway
The Severn Valley Railway is a heritage railway in Shropshire and Worcestershire, England. The line runs along the Severn Valley from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster, following the course of the River Severn for much of its route...

On static display Future overhaul possible with return to original condition

5322 is the older of the two as it was built in 1917, during the Great War, at Swindon Works. It was sent, with several other members of the class, to France for hauling munitions and hospital trains. There it was painted in War Department livery and given the number ROD5322. Demobbed in 1919 at Chester
Chester is a city in Cheshire, England. Lying on the River Dee, close to the border with Wales, it is home to 77,040 inhabitants, and is the largest and most populous settlement of the wider unitary authority area of Cheshire West and Chester, which had a population of 328,100 according to the...

 it returned to the GWR fleet till it was withdrawn from service in April 1964. It was sent to Woodham Brothers scrapyard in Barry, South Wales. The first Barry locomotive to be subject to a preservation fund, it was the second locomotive to leave Woodham's. 5322 thus ended up in preservation as the sole early 43xx to be preserved. It had previously been restored to working order but was not steamed since 1975. It has since returned to steam in 2008 at the Didcot Railway Centre
Didcot Railway Centre
Didcot Railway Centre, located in the town of Didcot in the English county of Oxfordshire, is based around the site of a comprehensive "engine shed" which became redundant after the nationalisation of the UK railways, due to the gradual changeover from steam to diesel motive power.-Description:The...

, restored to its 1919 WD condition.

9303 is one of the final batch of 342 locomotives built between 1911 and 1932. They were built with larger cabs and had a weight attached to the buffer beam to place more weight on the leading pony wheels. This was done to reduce the wear on the leading driving wheels. In 1958 the weight was removed from the buffer beam to give the locomotive more route availability. At the same time it was renumbered 7325. The plan is to replace the missing weight at the next overhaul so it can run as 9303.

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