1364 at Plymouth Dock 1948. Note the dent in the cylinder cover
The 1361 Class were designed by George Jackson Churchward as an update of the 1392 Class, originally built in 1874 for the Cornwall Minerals Railway. As such they combined unusual and outdated elements, such as saddle tanks and Allan valve gear, with current Great Western details such as the cab, bunker and many minor fittings. G.W.R. 0-6-0T were generally being converted to have Belpaire fireboxes and pannier tanks by this date, but the firebox on the 1361 was round topped, so the saddle tank was more appropriate. The 11 ft 0 in (3.35 m) wheelbase allowed them to negotiate 2 chains (132 ft; 40 m) radius curves, a feature necessary for their intended duties in docks and on lightly laid branch lines. Although, as is conventional, the design is credited to the C.M.E., Harold Holcroft was the junior draughtsman who did all the actual work on the class.
The same basic design was used for the six 1366 Class locomotives built in 1934, but this time they were fitted with Belpaire fireboxes, pannier tanks and more modern cabs. When the 1361s were withdrawn their remaining duties were given to D2000 diesel shunters.
One member of the 1361 class, No. 1363, was purchased for preservation by a group of members from the Great Western Society in 1964, two years after it was withdrawn from British Railways service at Laira. It was run to Totnes on the South Devon Railway under its own steam, and was restored there. No. 1363 is based at the Didcot Railway Centre, and as of 2014 was dismantled for overhaul to working order.
Kernow Model Rail Centre announced plans in 2014 to manufacture an 00 gauge model of the 1361 class in conjunction with DJ Models. The model is being made in partnership with the Great Western Society at Didcot.