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Great Western, King Class 4-6-0s (Hardback)

From Construction to Withdrawal

Transport Photographic Books Colour Books Trains and Railways

By David Maidment
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Series: Locomotive Portfolios
Pages: 272
Illustrations: 250 colour & black and white illustrations & weight diagrams
ISBN: 9781526739858
Published: 29th October 2020

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Built by Collett in 1927 after pressure to restore the GWR’s pre-eminence in motive power and cope with increasing traffic post-war to the Devon and Cornwall holiday resorts, the thirty Kings were the final development of the Churchward Stars and the 1923 Castles and remained on top-link main line duty until their final replacement by the ‘Western’ class 52 diesel hydraulics in 1962. The book includes an insight into the thinking of some of Collett’s senior staff at the end of the 1930s and the eventual transformation in the latter years with redraughting and double chimneys. As well as describing their design and construction, the book covers comprehensively their operation and performance backed up by many recorded logs on all main GW/WR routes over which they were permitted. The author had close experience of the class when working at Old Oak Common between 1957 and 1962 and includes a chapter of his experiences with them including many footplate trips (as a management trainee, he was greeted with glee by many firemen who would hand him the shovel). The book includes over 300 photographs of which 100 are in colour.

Featured in

The Society of Model and Experimental Engineers Journal, April 2021

Review by Philip Benham

As one has come to expect from David Maidment, this is a very professional, well-researched and important book that brings a fresh perspective to the life and work of these impressive locomotives. It will have wide appeal, not just to King aficionados, but also the many with a serious interest in steam traction.

The Journal of the Friends of the National Railway Museum, Winter 2020/2021

No GWR fan should be without this superb volume – well worth adding to the bookshelf.

Railways Illustrated, April 2021

Review by Roger Backhouse

Much to like in this account of a powerful locomotive class, much promoted by the Great Western Railway.

York Model Engineers newsletter

In true Maidment style, the stirring history of these locomotives is supported with detailed technical descriptions and performance tables...

... One aspect that really sets this book apart is the chapter on David Maidment's personal experiences of every member of the class; surely not even O S Nock could have matched that! Add a fabulous array of photos, many superb ones in colour from the likes of Derek Penney, and you have a first class book.

Great Western Society

As featured by

Railway and Canal Historical Society's journal

The history of the GWR King Class locomotives have been told in previous books. But these are now out of print and Maidment’s volume is a very welcome and authoritative work which will interest anyone with an interest in express mainline steam locomotives. Recommended.

Click here for the full review

Books on the Line

A good book to know these "real" locomotives.

Read the full Spanish review here

Unos Cuantos Trenes
 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 fifteen books for Pen & Sword’s locomotive portfolio series, the royalties from all being donated to the charity.

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