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Great Western, County Classes (Hardback)

The Churchward 4-4-0s, 4-4-2 Tanks and Hawksworth 4-6-0s

Transport Trains and Railways

By David Maidment
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Series: Locomotive Portfolios
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 200
ISBN: 9781526706379
Published: 3rd August 2018


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The Great Western Railway had two classes of tender locomotives named after counties. The first class of two cylinder 4-4-0 tender locomotives, designed by George Jackson Churchward, were introduced in the 1900s to provide efficient motive power, including lines on the 'North & West' route between Hereford and Shrewsbury, owned jointly by the Great Western and L.N.W.R.

The 4-4-0 counties were in service until the early 1930s, when they were withdrawn and replaced by more modern motive power.

The 4-4-0 countie, were paralleled in design by the county 4-4-2 tanks, which operated suburban services in the London area and were also withdrawn in the early 1930s.

In 1945, the Great Western introduced the County 4-6-0 tender locomotives, designed by F W Hawksworth. These two cylinder machines had a high pressure boiler that was meant to give the same tractive effort as a Castle class 4-6-0 four cylinder locomotive,

After modifications and boiler pressure reduction, the County class 4-6-0s operated in express and semi fast train service, until the last members of the class were withdrawn in 1964.

AUTHOR David Maidment is a Methodist who began his railway management career in 1960 and although he retired from the railway industry some 22 years ago, he is still busy as founder of the international Railway Children charity – and as a writer and speaker, having retained an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things railway with a particular fondness for the days of steam. That will be obvious from his latest book, Great Western County Classes: The Churchward 4-4-0s, 4-4-2 Tanks and Hawksworth 4-6- 0s (Pen & Sword Books, £30), a large coffee table affair that will keep steam enthusiasts occupied for hours on end with its iconic photos, commentaries and inevitable statistics from the glory days of the Great Western Railway (GWR, sometimes known as “God’s Wonderful Railway”). The 4 -4-0 counties and the 4-4-2 tank locomotives (designed by George Jackson Churchward) were phased out in the 1930s, while the later 4-6-0s (designed by F W Hawksworth) were finally withdrawn from service in 1964. No doubt about it – if there was a place for a Connexional rail enthusiast, David Maidment would be the obvious candidate.

Methodist Recorder

As with all David Maidment's locomotive books this one is well researched and contains a lot of valuable information.
The text is supported by an excellent selection of photographs showing most of the locomotives either at rest or working trains.

Friends of the National Railway Museum

AS featured here

Miniaturas JM

Combining well-researched history, a quality album in its own right and a fact-packed work of reference, David Maidment's book is a 'must' for any GW enthusiast's bookshelf.

Great Western Echo
 David Maidment

About David Maidment

David Maidment was born in 1938. He began his railway career in 1961 and although he retired from the railway industry over eighteen years ago, he is still busy as a writer, activist in the voluntary sector and as a speaker in schools, church groups and general interest clubs. In 1996, David received an OBE for services to the railway industry and, in 2012, he received a Life Achievement Award at the National Rail Awards. His published works include articles on railway history, safety, practice, performance and nostalgia, and several books including The Other Railway Children and Lives on the Line, among other publications.

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