GWR 2884 Class

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GWR 2884 Class
Swindon 7 Locomotive Works geograph-2537433-by-Ben-Brooksbank.jpg
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
DesignerCharles Collett
BuilderGWR Swindon Works
Build date1938–1942
Total produced83
 • 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)
Height13 ft 0 in (3.962 m)
Axle load17 long tons 0 cwt (38,100 lb or 17.3 t)
(19.0 short tons) full
Adhesive weight67 long tons 0 cwt (150,100 lb or 68.1 t)
(75.0 short tons) full
Loco weight76 long tons 5 cwt (170,800 lb or 77.5 t)
(85.4 short tons) full
Tender weight40 long tons 0 cwt (89,600 lb or 40.6 t)
(44.8 short tons) full
Fuel typeCoal
Water cap3,500 imperial gallons (16,000 l; 4,200 US gal)
 • Firegrate area
27.07 sq ft (2.515 m2)
Boiler pressure225 psi (1.55 MPa)
Heating surface:
 • Tubes
1,686.60 sq ft (156.690 m2)
 • Firebox154.78 sq ft (14.380 m2)
 • Type4 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)
Valve gearStephenson
Valve typepiston valves
Performance figures
Tractive effort35,380 lbf (157.4 kN)
OperatorsGWR » BR
Power classGWR: E
BR: 8F
Axle load classGWR: Blue
DispositionNine preserved, remainder scrapped

The Great Western Railway (GWR) 2884 Class is a class of 2-8-0 steam locomotive.


They were designed for heavy freight work and were a development of the earlier 2800 Class. The 2884s differed from the original engines in a number of respects, the most obvious being that a more modern Collett side window cab was provided and that they were built with outside steam pipes.


83 of the 2884 class were built between 1938 and 1941. Those built during the war did not have the side window to the cab, and the side window on the others was plated over. This was to reduce glare, as a precaution against enemy air attacks. [1] The windows were reinstated after the war.

The locomotives were so popular with the ex-Great Western crews that the British Railways Western Region operating authorities wanted more of the class built after nationalisation in 1948; however, this request was turned down in favour of BR Standard Class 9Fs.

Oil firing[edit]

Between 1945 and 1947, coal shortages caused GWR to experiment with oil fired 2800 locomotives. Eight of the 2884 class were converted and renumbered from 4850. 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.

1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials[edit]

The year 1948 also saw one of the 2884 class, No.3803 (now preserved), emerge remarkably successfully from the 1948 Locomotive Exchange Trials against more modern engines including the LMS 8F and the WD Austerity 2-8-0 and WD Austerity 2-10-0. It took the appearance in 1954 of the British Railways BR standard class 9F 2-10-0 to displace the 2800s from their main role of mineral haulage. Nevertheless, there was still work for them right up to the end of steam on the Western region in 1965. Six decades of service testify to the fundamental excellence of Churchward's original conception.

No. 3863 on a down freight west of Patchway 12 August 1963


Table of withdrawals
Year Quantity in
service at
start of year
Number withdrawn Quantity
Locomotive numbers
1962 83 1 1 3827.
1963 82 16 17 2888-89/92/94/97-98,
1964 65 32 49 2884-87/91/93/96,
1965 32 34 83 2890/95/99,


Nine examples of the 2884, were saved from Woodham Brothers scrapyard in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales and four of these engines have operated in preservation.

Number Year Built Withdrawn Location Status Image Notes
2885 Mar 1938 Jan 1964 Tyseley Locomotive Works Undergoing Overhaul GWR Class 2884 No 2885 2-8-0 (6761025903).jpg Formerly on display at Birmingham Moor Street.
3802 Dec 1938 Aug 1965 Llangollen Railway Operational, boiler ticket expires: 2027. GWR 3802 (05-04-14).jpg Currently paired with a 4,000 gallon Collett tender instead of the usual 3,500 gallon Churchward tender. Returned to service following an overhaul in January 2018 and now operational at Llangollen.
3803 Jan 1939 Jul 1963 South Devon Railway Stored 3803 South Devon Railway (2).jpg Based at the South Devon Railway.
3814 Mar 1940 Dec 1964 Llangollen Railway Undergoing Restoration East Acton LTE Station geograph-2518393-by-Ben-Brooksbank.jpg Currently under restoration to running condition. Moved to Llangollen Railway for restoration to continue.
3822 Apr 1940 Jan 1964 Didcot Railway Centre Static Display 3822 Didcot Railway Centre.jpg Awaiting overhaul after being withdrawn from traffic in 2010. In 1989, 3822 was used in the Music video of the song Breakthru by the band Queen.
3845 Apr 1942 Jun 1964 TBC Stored At a private site in the West Midlands awaiting restoration.
3850 Jun 1942 Aug 1965 Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Undergoing Overhaul 3850 at Toddington, May 2014.jpg Originally restored at and operated at the West Somerset Railway, now moved to Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway for 10-year overhaul.
3855 Oct 1942 Aug 1965 East Lancashire Railway Undergoing Restoration Being restored from ex Barry Scrapyard condition.
3862 Nov 1942 Feb 1965 Northampton & Lamport Railway Undergoing Restoration Being restored from ex Barry Scrapyard condition to full running condition.


Hornby Railways manufacture a model of the 2884 Class in OO gauge.
Dapol produce a model in N gauge.


  • Whitehurst, Brian (1973). Great Western Engines, Names, Numbers, Types and Classes (1940 to Preservation). Oxford, UK: Oxford Publishing Company. pp. 28, 35, 98, 103, 140. ISBN 978-0-9028-8821-0. OCLC 815661.
  1. ^ "3822 - 2-8-0". Retrieved 22 April 2014.

External links[edit]