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Great Western Castle Class 4-6-0 Locomotives (Hardback)

The Final Years 1960- 1965

Colour Books Photographic Books Transport > Trains & Railways

By David Maidment
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Series: Locomotive Portfolios
Pages: 184
Illustrations: 150 colour and 200 mono integrated
ISBN: 9781399095341
Published: 8th November 2022



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The author’s second volume about the Great Western’s classic express locomotives covers their final six years in British Railways service. In 1960 the Castles, many now modernised with double chimneys and 4-row superheaters, were still in charge of most of the Western Region’s expresses, but by the summer of 1963 their regular express work was limited to the London – Worcester route. Their declining numbers in the last couple of years covered special summer and relief trains, parcels and freight work, deputising for failed or unavailable diesels and a flurry of excursions and railtours where their prowess could still be demonstrated. The author worked and lived alongside them in these years and the book includes much of his own personal experience on the footplate, on their trains and on shed. The book recaps briefly their first 25 years and covers their history, operation and performance in their final years and is copiously illustrated including over 100 colour photographs.

Once again David Maidment has used his extensive contacts, and those of the publisher, to source a wonderful selection of images to illustrate his text. In addition to the wide range of monochrome views, there are over 100 colour images of the Castles at work in the early 1960s, many captured in bright sunlight.

This book is highly recommended.

West Somerset Railway Association

“…for the many who loved the class, as did the author who recalls them as his favourite, this is also a book to buy”.

Model Engineer – Vol. 231 No. 4728 - 20 October – 2 November 2023

"Anyone interested in GWR motive power, especially express engines, ought to get both volumes for their book shelves - as should modellers."

Great Western Study Group's Newsletter

"....well presented and benefit from David Maidment’s usual lively and interesting narrative, providing a definitive account of these highly successful locomotives that are so important to the story the express passenger locomotive. It can be too easy to describe books as ‘essential reading’ but in this case for anyone interested in GWR locomotives, or indeed the wider development of the British steam engine, this is without doubt the case."

NRM Review no. 183 - The Journal of the Friends of the National Railway Museum

"For the many who loved the class, as did the author who names them his favourite, this is also a book to buy."

Welsh Railways Research Circle Spring newsletter

It tells an important part of the ‘Castle’ story dealing with the class’s final years at the top of WR express work from 1960-62, followed by decline and the final withdrawal of the last one, No. 7029 Clun Castle, in 1965.

Above all, it portrays the ‘Castles’ as many of us will remember them – often far from pristine but still capable of covering themselves in glory as the many lively performance logs illustrate.

Apart from anything else this book is a magnificent photo album, augmented by a substantial colour section with shots from the likes of Peter Gray and Derek Penney. Guaranteed to take you on an unforgettable nostalgia trip!

Great Western Society - The Great Western Echo, Winter 2023

This personal view of their last years is accompanied by a quite substantial colour section, and appendices of numbers and names, condemnation dates, and final mileages. It is always good when someone who shares their good fortune of knowing a subject so well.

Steam Days - January 2023

The second volume in David Maidments trilogy on Great Western Castle Class locomotives covers the ‘Swan Song’ of the class from 1960-1965. Following a similar format to the proceeding volume, this time following a brief synopsis, well illustrated chapters cover the last years at the top to 1962, the personal recollections of the author and then the final years to 1965.

A number of train logs illustrate, that a Castle in top form, fitted with a 4 row superheated boiler and in the hands of exemplary crews could turn in some outstanding runs with speeds in the high 80’s/low 90’s on an almost daily basis.

Due to the easier availability of colour film and perhaps the knowledge of those photographers, such as Peter Gray Alan Jarvis & Derek Penney, that the end was near, the colour section is worth the cover price alone.

Volume 3, the Preservation era bringing the Castle class up to the present day is eagerly awaited!

Richard Abbey - 6024 Preservation Society
 David Maidment

About David Maidment

David Maidment was a senior manager with British Railways, with widespread experience of railway operating on the Western and London Midland Regions culminating in the role of Head of Safety Policy for the BRB after the Clapham Junction train accident. He retired in 1996, was a Principal Railway Safety Consultant with International Risk Management Services from 1996 to 2001 and founded the Railway Children charity (www.railwaychildren.org.uk) in 1995. He was awarded the OBE for services to the rail industry in 1996 and is now a frequent speaker on both the charity and his railway career and author of four novels, two non-fiction works on street children and over eighteen books for Pen & Sword’s locomotive portfolio series, the royalties from all being donated to the charity.

Perfect Partner

Great Western Castle Class 4-6-0 Locomotives – 1923 - 1959 (Hardback)

The Great Western Castles were one of the most successful locomotive designs of the twentieth century in terms of both performance and efficiency. Designed by Charles Collett in 1923, based on the 1907 Churchward ‘Star’ class, 155 were constructed almost continuously, apart from the war years, between 1923 and 1950, in addition to fifteen rebuilt ‘Stars’ and one rebuilt from the Great Bear pacific. Many were modernised with increased superheat and double-chimneys in the late 1950s and the class continued to be the mainstay of all Western Region express passenger services to the West Country,…

By David Maidment, Bob Meanley

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