GWR 4575 Class

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GWR 4575 class
5521 Didcot (2).jpg
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Designer Charles Collett
Builder GWR Swindon Works
Order number Lots 242, 249, 251, 253
Build date 1927–1929
Total produced 100
Configuration 2-6-2T
UIC classification 1'C1' ht
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Leading wheel
3 ft 2 in (0.965 m)
Driver diameter 4 ft 7 12 in (1.410 m)
Trailing wheel
3 ft 2 in (0.965 m)
Minimum curve 5 chains (330 ft; 100 m) normal,
4.5 chains (300 ft; 91 m) slow
Wheelbase 26 ft 10 in (8.18 m)
Length 36 ft 4 12 in (11.09 m) over buffers
Width 8 ft 9 in (2.67 m)
Height 13 ft 0 in (3.96 m)
Axle load 15 long tons 11 cwt (34,800 lb or 15.8 t) full
Weight on drivers 46 long tons 5 cwt (103,600 lb or 47 t) full
Locomotive weight 61 long tons 0 cwt (136,600 lb or 62 t) full
Fuel type Coal
Water capacity 1,300 imp gal (5,900 l; 1,600 US gal)
Boiler pressure 200 lbf/in2 (1.38 MPa)
Firegrate area 16.6 sq ft (1.54 m2)
Heating surface:
– Tubes
992.51 sq ft (92.207 m2)
– Firebox 94.25 sq ft (8.756 m2)
Superheater type 4-element or 6-element
Superheater area 4-element: 52.98 sq ft (4.922 m2),
6-element: 69.84 sq ft (6.488 m2)
Cylinders Two, outside
Cylinder size 17 in × 24 in (432 mm × 610 mm)
Valve gear Stephenson
Valve type Piston valves
Performance figures
Tractive effort 21,250 lbf (94.5 kN)
Train brakes Vacuum
Operator(s) GWR » BR
Class 4575
Power class GWR: C,
Number in class 100
Number(s) 4575–4599, 5500–5574
Nicknames Small Prairie
Axle load class GWR: Yellow
Withdrawn 1956–1964
Preserved 4588, 5521, 5526, 5532, 5538, 5539, 5541, 5542, 5552, 5553, 5572
Disposition 11 preserved, remainder scrapped

The Great Western Railway (GWR) 4575 Class is a class of 2-6-2T steam locomotives.


They were designed as small mixed traffic branch locomotives, mainly used on branch lines. They were a development of Churchward's 4500 Class with larger side tanks and increased water capacity.[1] 100 were built numbered 4575–4599 and 5500–5574. A number were fitted with auto apparatus in 1953 to enable them to run push-pull trains on South Wales lines with auto trailers.[1]


No fewer than 11 of these tank engines survived:

Number and name Home Status Image
4588 Tyseley Locomotive Works Has run in preservation, but currently out of service requiring overhaul. It was sold from the Dartmouth Steam Railway in 2015. [2] Churston 4588 outside workshop.jpg
5521/L.150 Bluebell Railway No. 5521 was built at Swindon in 1927 and spent most of its working life on branch lines in the West Country. After withdrawal, having run just over a million miles, it spent time at Barry and Bishops Lydeard before Richard and William Parker bought it in 1980. It moved first to the Dean Forest Railway, then to the industrial estate in Lydney, then to Swindon Works, then to the Swindon & Cricklade Railway and back again to the DFR before it was finally restored at The Flour Mill in the Forest of Dean from 2004 to 2007. In April 2007, 5521 went by sea from Hull to Gdynia in Poland via Helsinki and featured in the Wolsztyn Parade. It then travelled to Budapest, Hungary where it worked intermittently with MAV Nosztalgia, the heritage rail operator. In September 2007 it piloted the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express from Budapest Keleti to Kelenfold stations on its return from Istanbul to Venice before competing in the Zvolen Grand Prix in Slovakia and the Central European Steam Locomotive Grand Prix at the Railway Heritage Park in Budapest. It returned to Poland and in May 2008 again appeared in the Wolsztyn Parade before operating suburban services from Wroclaw to Jelcz Laskowice, to the timings of the electric multiple units it was replacing, for several periods of up to nine days at a time, each with 36 scheduled stops and starts.

In 2009 it returned to England after appearing at the Wolsztyn Parade for the third time. Since then, it has visited many preserved lines across the country. In May 2013, at the request of London Underground, the locomotive was painted in red London Transport livery and numbered L.150, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Metropolitan line, and between 25-27 May it operated special trains between Harrow-on-the-Hill and Amersham, along with Met 1, 9466 and Sarah Siddons. The locomotive was on loan to the Bluebell Railway until summer 2014.[3]

Amersham station MMB 11 5521.jpg
5526 South Devon Railway At the South Devon Railway[4] undergoing an overhaul. 5526 Arriving at Staverton - - 942495.jpg
5532 Llangollen Railway Under restoration. [5]
5538 The Flour Mill, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire Under restoration. Previously displayed in Barry Island. [6] Churchdown local train geograph-2935671-by-Ben-Brooksbank.jpg
5539 Llangollen Railway Under restoration. Previously part of the Barry Ten until 2006. [7]
5541 Dean Forest Railway Currently operational. Boiler ticket expires in 2023. [8] Lydney Junction Signal Box - - 213163.jpg
5542 Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Currently operational. This locomotive has visited several preserved railways throughout her preservation career. Boiler ticket expires in 2022.[9] Totnes 5542 shirtbutton livery.jpg
5552 Bodmin and Wenford Railway Has run in preservation and is currently under overhaul.[10] Totnes SDR 5552.jpg
5553 West Somerset Railway Under overhaul at LNWR Heritage, Crewe. Number 5553 was the last steam engine to leave Woodham Brothers scrapyard in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales, in January 1990. 4575 Class 5553 bunker Bishops Lydeard.jpg
5572 Didcot Railway Centre On static display awaiting overhaul. [11] 5572 Didcot (1).jpg

In fiction[edit]

One of these locomotives with the GWR Shirtbutton logo was featured in the train chase sequence from the 1978 Disney film Candleshoe.

Models and Toys[edit]

Lima made a model of the 4575 class, number 4589, in GWR green, also a British Railways black-liveried version, running number 5574. Bachmann Branchline have for many years made various versions of the 4575 Class.

See also[edit]


  • Whitehurst, Brian (1973). Great Western engines, names, numbers, types, classes: 1940 to preservation. Oxford: Oxford Publishing Company. pp. 40–41, 50, 102, 137. ISBN 0-902888-21-8. OCLC 815661. 

External links[edit]