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3800 'County' class introduction

Running numbers: 3800 - 3839.

Built:   1904           (3800) to lot number 149,
          1906           (3801 - 3820) to lot number 165,
          1911-12      (3821 - 3830) to lot number 184.

    Know to railwaymen as 'Churchwards rough riders', the 'County' class of locomotivesCounty class number 3826 County of Flint looked very much like a shortened version of the 'Saint' class. The reason for the design was to work the cross country services on the Shrewsbury to Hereford line, a line which was jointly owned by the GWR and the London and North Western Railway. The LNWR refused to allow 4-6-0 locomotives on this line and so Churchward designed an engine with enough power in reserve should the need arise for it's use on other lines, but as Sir William Stanier noted that "Churchward was not going to be instructed by Webb, the Locomotive Superintendent of the LNWR, and designed an engine that had plenty of power to run the service but which had a front end too powerful for the wheelbase".

     Ironically, although the 'County' class were envisaged in 1901, the first member of the class was not built until 1904 - exactly one year after Webb had retired.

    The first two batches of 1904 and 1906 were built with the square frame ends whereas the last batch were fitted with the curved framing. Previous versions were then modified to the newer design. As with most other GWR engines, superheating was added from 1909 and top feed from 1911.
     Three members of the class were temporarily coupled to the Great Bear tender, possibly in an attempt to stabilise the engine.

    As common with other 4 - 4 - 0 locomotives of this period, greater reliance was given to 4 - 6 - 0 locomotives for express passenger services and 2 - 6 - 0 Moguls for other mixed traffic work, and withdrawals began in February 1930 with number 3833 County of Dorset. The last engine to be withdrawn was number 3834 County of Somerset in November 1933.

Specifications (long cone boiler with superheater).

Cylinders (2) 18 x 30 inches Driving wheel diameter 6 feet 8 inches
Bogie wheel diameter 3 feet 2 inches Tractive Effort 20,530 pounds
Boiler type Number 4 Boiler maximum dia. 5 feet 6 inches
Boiler minimum dia. 4 feet 10 inches Fire tubes, no. and dia. 235 x 1 5/8 inches
Flue tubes, no. and dia. 14 x 5 1/8 inches Superheater tubes, no. and dia. 84 x 1 inch
Boiler pressure 200 lbs/square inch. Boiler length 11 feet 0 inches
Area of firegrate 20.56 square feet Heating surfaces, tubes 1,349.64 square feet
Heating surfaces, firebox 128.72 square feet Heating surfaces, superheater 191.79 square feet


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