R3224 BR 2-8-0 52xx Class No.5239 View full size

R3224 BR 2-8-0 52xx Class No.5239

Hornby R3224 BR 2-8-0 52xx Class No.5239 (DCC Ready 8 Pin)

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George Jackson Churchward CBE was Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Great Western Railway (GWR) from 1902 – 1922 and during that time he designed class leading and innovative locomotives superior to those of other railway companies. When Charles Benjamin Collett was appointed as the new CME to the GWR in 1922 he inherited these excellent locomotive designs. With rising costs and falling revenue he decided it was more practical and economic to modify existing locomotive designs rather than create new untried ones.

The Class 42XX locomotives had been developed specifically to answer the need for locomotives capable of transporting very heavy loads of coal from the Welsh coals mines to the ports in South Wales. In 1923 when additional locomotives were required, Collett decided to modify the Class 42XX locomotives.

The Class underwent extensive detail alterations and changes including having the cylinders increased in size to 19” x 30” plus also the addition of outside steam pipes resulting in an increased tractive effort. With these modifications the locomotives were reclassified as Class 52XX and the locomotives in this class were continued to be built until 1926.

In 1930 a further batch of 20 were ordered, numbers 5275 – 5294 but by this time coal exports had reduced considerably due to ‘The Great Depression’. Rather than lose their skilled workforce, GWR completed the order and placed the Class into storage at Swindon, mainly because these locomotives with their heavy coal consumption precluded them from working on other routes. Three of the Class have been preserved.

The locomotive in this pack No. 5239 was outshopped from the GWR Swindon Locomotive Works on the 8th August 1924 and was withdrawn from Shed 87A Neath Court Sart on the 30th April 1963. The locomotive was rescued from the Barry Scrapyard in June 1973 and can now be seen on the Dartmouth Steam Railway.