GWR 2800 Class

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GWR 2800 Class
Newport High Street station geograph-2516537-by-Ben-Brooksbank.jpg
2818 (now preserved) at Newport High Street
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
DesignerGeorge Jackson Churchward
BuilderGWR Swindon Works
Build date1903, 1905–1919
Total produced84
 • Whyte2-8-0
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Leading dia.3 ft 2 in (0.965 m)
Driver dia.4 ft 7 12 in (1.410 m)
Minimum curve7 chains (460 ft; 140 m) normal,
6 chains (400 ft; 120 m) slow
Length63 ft 2 14 in (19.26 m)
Width8 ft 11 in (2.718 m)
Height12 ft 11 14 in (3.943 m)
Axle load17 long tons 5 cwt (38,600 lb or 17.5 t)
(17.5 t; 19.3 short tons) full
Adhesive weight67 long tons 10 cwt (151,200 lb or 68.6 t)
(68.6 t; 75.6 short tons) full
Loco weight75 long tons 10 cwt (169,100 lb or 76.7 t)
(76.7 t; 84.6 short tons) full
Fuel typeCoal
Water cap3,500 imp gal (16,000 l; 4,200 US gal)
 • Firegrate area
27.07 sq ft (2.515 m2)
Boiler pressure225 lbf/in2 (1.55 MPa)
Heating surface:
 • Tubes
1,686.60 sq ft (156.690 m2)
 • Firebox154.78 sq ft (14.380 m2)
 • Type4-element or 6-element
 • Heating area4-element: 191.8 sq ft (17.82 m2),
6-element: 253.38 sq ft (23.540 m2)
CylindersTwo, outside
Cylinder size18.5 in × 30 in (470 mm × 762 mm)
Performance figures
Tractive effort35,380 lbf (157.4 kN)
OperatorsGWR » BR
Power classGWR: E
BR: 8F
Axle load classGWR: Blue
DispositionSix preserved, One parts donor, remainder scrapped

The Great Western Railway (GWR) 2800 Class is a class of steam locomotive.


The class was designed by G.J. Churchward for heavy freight work. They were the first 2-8-0 'Consolidation' class in Great Britain.

The prototype, originally numbered 97 but later renumbered 2800, appeared in 1903. Construction of the production series commenced in 1905 and continued until 1919. The 2884 Class which appeared in 1938–1942 was developed from the 2800 class and is sometimes classified with it.


No.97 undertook two years of trials before going into production. Initial results suggested that only the front end needed further development. Initially the boiler pressure of the 2-8-0 was set at 200 lbf/in2 (1.4 MPa) with 18-inch (457 mm) diameter cylinders. Tractive effort started out at 29,775 lbf (132.45 kN) but was increased substantially in the production engines by enlarging the cylinder diameter to 18 12 in (470 mm) and raising the steam pressure to 225 lbf/in2 (1.55 MPa). The 8 12 in (216 mm) piston valves were enlarged to 10 in (254 mm).


The most visible difference between No.97 and the first of the 1905 production batch was the higher pitch of the boiler (8 ft 2 in or 2.49 m opposed to 7 ft 8 12 in or 2.35 m). At first the prototype was given a 4,000-imperial-gallon (18,000 l; 4,800 US gal) tender but almost without exception the 2800s were harnessed to the 3,500-imperial-gallon (16,000 l; 4,200 US gal) variety throughout their working lives. Superheating was incorporated into the class from 1909 with No.2808 the first to be retro-fitted. Other modifications centred on improving the weight distribution, altering smokebox lengths and fitting larger diameter chimneys. The 84 2800s built by Churchward remained the GWR's principal long haul freight engines throughout the 1920s and 1930s. The only serious problem met with in traffic was with the sealing of the internal steam pipes. Beginning in 1934 most of the class had them replaced with the outside kind.

Oil firing[edit]

Between 1945 and 1947, coal shortages caused GWR to experiment with oil fired 2800 locomotives and 12 of the 2800 class were converted. They were renumbered into the 4800 series, which necessitated re-numbering the entire 4800 class autotanks into the 1400 series, and reclassified as 1400 class. The experiment, encouraged by the government was abandoned in 1948 once the extra maintenance costs were calculated and the bill had arrived for the imported oil.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 6 January 1932, locomotive No. 2808 was hauling a freight train was in collision with a milk train at Didcot East Junction. The locomotive was extensively damaged. Ten wagon were destroyed and seventeen more were damaged. The milk train had overrun signals.[1]
  • On 15 January 1936, locomotive No. 2802 was hauling a freight train that became divided at Shrivenham, Oxfordshire. An express passenger train collided with the rear portion of the freight due to errors by the guard and signalman. Two people were killed.[2]


Table of withdrawals
Year Quantity in
service at
start of year
Locomotive numbers
1958 84 7 2800/1-2/14/20/27/38.
1959 77 35 2803-4/8/10-12/15-17/23-26/28-29/32-33/40/43/48-49/63-64/68-70/78/80.
1960 49 50 2805-6/9/13/21/30-31/35/37/44/46-47/50/77/81.
1961 34 51 2819.
1962 33 56 2834/53/55/60/83.
1963 28 74 2807/18/41-42/45/51-52/54/57-58/61/65-67/71-72/74/82
1964 10 83 2822/36/39/56/59/62/73/75/79.
1965 1 84 2876.


Six 2800 class locomotives survive, these being 2807, 2818, 2857, 2859, 2873, 2874, along with nine 2884 class locomotives. A seventh survivor was used to provide parts for other projects. Only two members of the class have so far operated in preservation, these being: 2807 and 2857, both engines are also presently operational. One of the class, no. 2857, briefly operated on the main line in 1985.

Number Year Built Withdrawn Location Status Owner Image Notes
2807 Oct 1905 Mar 1963 Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Operational, boiler ticket expires: Jan 1st 2020 Cotswold Steam Preservation Ltd GWR 2807 steam loco.jpg Salvaged from Woodham Bros in 1981 it was restored to running order at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, it is the oldest survivor of its class in preservation being 113 years old as of October 2018.
2818 Dec 1905 Oct 1963 Museum of the Great Western Railway Static Display Museum of the Great Western Railway Hugh llewelyn 2818 (6678719913).jpg Preserved straight from service and previously part of the National Collection but not in running condition and not expected to steam again, only when ready to be in running condition and get steaming again. Retains inside steam pipes and straight frames. In August 2017 the National Railway Museum transferred ownership of 2818 to STEAM - Museum of the Great Western Railway.[3] The locomotive moved here on 21 August 2018.[4]
2857 May 1918 Apr 1963 Severn Valley Railway Operational, boiler ticket expires: 2021 The 2857 Society Steam Locomotive 2857 (8090249000).jpg Purchased from Woodham Bros in May 1974 by the 2857 Society for £5,775 it was later moved by rail to the Severn Valley Railway in August 1975 and steamed for the first time in September 1979. As of 2018 the engine is the second oldest of the class to run in preservation becoming 100 years old in May 2018.

In 1985 during the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Great Western Railway it took a selection of the Severn Valley Railway's goods wagons to Newport for a Railfreight spectacular event.[5] The outward route took the engine via Worcester & Hereford with the return route being via Severn Tunnel Junction, Chepstow & Gloucester.

2859 May 1918 Dec 1964 Private Site, Congleton Under Restoration Private Owner 2859 Llangollen.jpg Moved to Congleton from the Llangollen Railway for restoration in November 2017 following its sale to a private owner.[6]
2873 Nov 1918 Dec 1964 South Devon Railway Dismantled South Devon Railway Worcester Rainbow Hill geograph-2926164-by-Ben-Brooksbank.jpg Currently stored (frames only) at Buckfastleigh.
2874 Nov 1918 May 1963 Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Under preparation for Restoration The 2874 Trust 2874 at Toddington Yard during the 2014 Cotswold Festival of Steam.JPG Currently in Barry Scrapyard condition but preparation for restoration is underway. Retains inside steam pipes and will be the only one of her class when restored running with inside steam pipes.

2861, built in 1918, was one of the "Barry Ten" and eventually broken up for parts at the Llangollen Railway in 2014 and the frames scrapped. The cylinder and saddle block, along with several other components, are being used in the construction of replica GWR 4700 Class 2-8-0 No. 4709.[7]


Hornby Railways manufacture a model of the 28xx in OO gauge.


  1. ^ Anderson, E. P. (26 February 1932). "Great Western Railway" (PDF). Board of Trade.
  2. ^ Hall 1990, p. 101.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ 2857 At Newport with the vintage goods train during the GW150 railfreight spectacular
  6. ^ Wilcock, David (3 November 2017). "It nearly ended up on Ebay, but after 12 years a buyer is found for Llangollen 2-8-0". Steam Railway. No. 473. Peterborough: Bauer Media. pp. 8–9.
  7. ^
  • Classic British Steam locomotives
  • Whitehurst, Brian (1973). Great Western Engines, Names, Numbers, Types and Classes (1940 to Preservation). Oxford, UK: Oxford Publishing Company. pp. 27–28, 103, 130. ISBN 978-0-9028-8821-0. OCLC 815661.

External links[edit]