GWR 3031 Class

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Achilles Class
Dean Single No. 3050 Royal Sovereign in photographic grey livery.
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
DesignerWilliam Dean
BuilderGWR Swindon Works
Order numberLots 94, 95, 110
Serial number1391–1420, 1612–1631
Build date1894–1899
Total produced50 (new)
Number rebuilt30 (from 3001 class)
 • Whyte4-2-2
 • UIC2A1 n2
Gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Leading dia.4 ft 1+12 in (1.257 m)
Driver dia.7 ft 8+12 in (2.350 m)
Trailing dia.4 ft 7+12 in (1.410 m)
Wheelbase18 ft 8+12 in (5.702 m)
Cylinder size19 in × 24 in (483 mm × 610 mm)
DispositionAll scrapped, one non-working replica was built in the early 1980s

The Dean Single, 3031 Class, or Achilles Class was a type of steam locomotive built by the British Great Western Railway between 1891 and 1899. They were designed by William Dean for passenger work. The first 30 members of the class were built as 2-2-2s of the 3001 Class.

The first eight members of the class (numbers 3021-3028, built April–August 1891) were built as convertible 7 ft 14 in (2,140 mm) broad gauge 2-2-2 locomotives, being converted to standard gauge in mid-1892, at the end of broad gauge running on the Great Western Railway. A further 22 were built in late 1891 and early 1892, this time as standard gauge engines.

Although the 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) 3001 class were fitted with larger boilers than earlier GWR 2-2-2 classes, the diameter of the boiler was constrained by its position between the 7 ft 8+12 in (2.350 m) driving wheels. Thus boiler capacity could only be increased by making the boiler longer, not wider, bringing the smokebox and cylinders in front of the leading axle.[1] The extra weight of the larger boilers was borne by the leading wheels, making the locomotives unstable, particularly at speed. On 16 September 1893 No. 3021 Wigmore Castle, hauling an express train, was derailed in Box Tunnel when the front axle broke. The cause of the accident was thought to be excessive weight being carried on the front axle, so it was decided to replace the leading pair of wheels in the 3001 class with a bogie.[2][3]

In the 3001 class the steam chest was located underneath the cylinders, and contained two slide valves. The inverted placement of the valves allowed them to drop away from the face of the steam ports when steam was shut off, thus reducing wear.[4] The steam chest and valves lay above the front carrying axle, and there was sufficient clearance to allow the steam chest cover to be removed over the axle for maintenance.

Replacing the axle with a bogie of conventional design would have obstructed access to the port faces. Dean instead used a suspension bogie, in which the weight of the locomotive was transferred upwards to the bogie by four bolts mounted on the inside frames. The centre pin of the bogie rotated in a spring-centred block mounted beneath the steam chest on cross beams. This setup gave sufficient clearance so that, when the bolts were undone, the front end of the locomotive raised, and the bogie was run out from underneath, the steam chest cover could be removed without hindrance.[2]

No. 3021 was rebuilt as a 4-2-2 in March 1894. Between June and December 1894 the 28 remaining locomotives of the 3001 class were rebuilt.[5] The first of a further 50 new bogie singles was also built in March 1894, the last of the class being outshopped in March 1899.[6] These new locomotives differed from the rebuilds in having their cylinder diameter reduced from 20 to 19 inches (508 to 483 mm), and the springs for the trailing wheels located above the footplate and outside the cab, necessitating a reduced width for the latter.[7] The rebuilds subsequently had their cylinders lined down to 19 inches (483 mm).[8] The entire class, as they required it, had their driving wheels fitted with thicker tyres from 1898 onwards, increasing the wheel diameter by one-half inch (12.7 mm) to 7 ft 8+12 in (2.350 m).[8]

In 1900, George Jackson Churchward replaced the boiler on number 3027 Worcester with a parallel Standard 2 boiler. Twelve further engines were similarly converted in 1905 and 1906.

Despite the locomotives' speed, the 4-2-2 design was soon found to be outdated and unsuitable for more modern operation. A proposal to improve their performance by fitting them with long-travel valves was found to be impracticable; the existing valves were directly driven from eccentrics mounted on the driving axle, and there was insufficient clearance to fit larger eccentrics.[9] Churchward considered rebuilding the class as Armstrong Class 4-4-0s with 7 ft 2 in (2.184 m) coupled wheels. The cylinder centre line would then be 3.5 in (89 mm) above the driving centre, due to the 7 in (178 mm) difference in driving wheel diameter. This scheme was not carried through because the connecting rods would not clear the lower slide bar, and the valve gear would be out of alignment. An alternative proposal to drop the locomotive 3.5 in (89 mm), and raise the buffer beam and dragbox, was also rejected on the grounds of cost. The class were gradually withdrawn between 1908 and 1915, with the last survivor, no. 3074 Princess Helena, being withdrawn in December 1916.[9] All of the originals were scrapped, but a non-working replica was built in the early 1980s.[10][11]

Notable members of the class[edit]

3065 Duke of Connaught made a record-breaking run with the Ocean Mail on 9 May 1904 (having taken over the train from City of Truro at Bristol), covering the distance from Bristol (Pylle Hill) to Paddington in 99 minutes 46 seconds[12] as part of a run from Plymouth to Paddington in 227 minutes.

3041 The Queen, originally named James Mason, was an example of this class allocated to Royal Train duties.

Number 3046 Lord of the Isles has enjoyed a certain amount of celebrity, having been chosen as the prototype for a Tri-ang model locomotive. Since then the engine has also been modelled by Brio and Matchbox. In 2006, Hornby also produced a limited edition of the same model, this time bearing the name Lorna Doone. Hornby also produced Royal Sovereign, Great Western, Duke of Edinburgh and Achilles in 2008, 2010, 2009 and 2020 respectively.


The replica No. 3041 in 1982

None of the original class survive, but a static replica of The Queen was commissioned by Tussauds for the Railways and Royalty exhibition at Windsor and Eton Central railway station. The replica loco was completed in December 1982 and displayed outside Steamtown in January 1983 (where it was constructed), before being transported by road to Windsor on 12 January 1983 and arriving on 14 January. The main frames, footplate, 'boiler', smokebox, cab and splashers were fabricated by Babcock's of Tipton. The tender was modified from an LBSCR C2x tender. Parts from a GWR tender, that came from the Dumbleton Hall Preservation Society, were used to provide the wheels for the front bogie and the rear wheels. The top halves of the driving wheels do not exist, while the bottom halves were cast from 2 quarters, being bolted together to make a half. The driving wheels also don't sit on the rail so the loco could be wheeled into position on its front bogie and rear wheels. Some boiler fittings were obtained from the Great Western Society and sandblasted, and the dome and safety valve bonnet were made by Newcastle Metal Spinners. Tussaud's fitted smoke and steam generators, so steam was emitted from the cab, whistles, safety valves and smoke from the chimney. A sound unit was also fitted.[13]

The engine remains there, but the tender was scrapped to make more space for the shopping centre occupying that station building. The Bluebell Railway Atlantic Group purchased the axleboxes, springs and the complete wheel sets from the tender for use in their newbuild Atlantic project.[14]


Number Name Built 4-2-2 rebuild Withdrawn Details and information
3001 Amazon 01/1892 10/1894 06/1908 Previously the name of a Rover Class locomotive withdrawn in 1892; named after a nation of female warriors in Greek mythology.
3002 Atalanta 01/1892 06/1894 09/1908 Named after a character in Greek mythology
3003 Avalanche 02/1892 05/1894 06/1909 Previously the name of a Banking Class locomotive withdrawn in 1865
3004 Black Prince 02/1892 11/1894 10/1911 Named after the eldest son of Edward III
3005 Britannia 02/1892 11/1894 02/1908 The Roman name for Britain
3006 Courier 03/1892 06/1894 02/1914 Previously the name of a Rover Class locomotive withdrawn in 1892
3007 Dragon 03/1892 08/1894 03/1912 Previously the name of a Rover Class locomotive withdrawn in 1892
3008 Emperor 03/1892 10/1894 08/1912 Previously the name of a Rover Class locomotive withdrawn in 1892
3009 Flying Dutchman 03/1892 11/1894 08/1912 Named after the winner of the Epsom Derby in 1849[15]
3010 Fire King 03/1892 09/1894 09/1908 Previously the name of a Banking Class locomotive withdrawn in 1875
3011 Greyhound 03/1892 01/1894 09/1911 Named after the breed of racing dog
3012 Great Western 03/1892 06/1894 05/1909 Previously the name of a Rover Class locomotive withdrawn in 1892
3013 Great Britain 03/1892 11/1894 02/1914 Previously the name of a Rover Class locomotive withdrawn in 1892
3014 Iron Duke 04/1892 10/1894 06/1908 Previously the name of the Iron Duke Class and a locomotive of that class; in this case it was reused from a locomotive of the Rover Class withdrawn in 1892. One of two locomotives of the class named after the Duke of Wellington.[16]
3015 Kennet 04/1892 08/1894 06/1908 Named after the River Kennet. The locomotive was involved in the Slough rail accident of 1900.
3016 Lightning 04/1892 11/1894 03/1911 Previously the name of a Rover Class locomotive withdrawn in 1892
3017 Prometheus 04/1892 09/1894 09/1908 Originally named Nelson, for Horatio Nelson; renamed May 1895; previously the name of a Rover Class locomotive withdrawn in 1892. Prometheus is a Titan in Greek mythology.[17]
3018 Glenside 04/1892 08/1894 06/1913 Built as Racer (a term for fast trains from the mid-19th century); renamed September 1911
3019 Rover 04/1892 05/1894 09/1908 Previously the name of the Rover class of locomotives, and of an Iron Duke Class locomotive withdrawn in 1871
3020 Sultan 04/1892 09/1894 02/1908 Previously the name of a Rover Class locomotive withdrawn in 1892
3021 Wigmore Castle 04/1892 03/1894 05/1909 Built to broad gauge. Involved in an accident in Box Tunnel in 1893. Named after a ruined castle in Herefordshire
3022 Bessemer 05/1892 07/1894 02/1909 Built to broad gauge and originally named Rougemont (previously the name of an Iron Duke Class locomotive withdrawn in 1879). Renamed in 1898, after Henry Bessemer, who invented the first process for mass-producing steel.
3023 Swallow 07/1891 09/1894 09/1912 Built to broad gauge; previously the name of an Iron Duke Class locomotive withdrawn in 1871
3024 Storm King 07/1891 12/1894 02/1909 Built to broad gauge.
3025 Quicksilver 08/1891 10/1894 09/1908 Built to broad gauge and named St. George. Renamed May 1907, after the element mercury; previously the name of a Saint Class locomotive, which was itself renamed The Abbott 03/1907.
3026 Tornado 08/1891 06/1894 02/1909 Built to broad gauge; previously the name of a Rover Class locomotive withdrawn in 1892.
3027 Worcester 08/1891 11/1894 07/1914 Built to broad gauge and originally named Thames; renamed December 1895.[18]
3028 Wellington 08/1891 07/1894 02/1909 Built to broad gauge. Previously the name of an Ariadne Class locomotive withdrawn in 1873. One of two locomotives in the class named after Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.
3029 White Horse 11/1891 07/1894 05/1909 During the first half of the 19th Century the West Country saw several hill figures carved by garrisoned troops, often in the form of a white horse; these were inspired by the original Uffington White Horse in the Vale of the White Horse, in Berkshire (Oxfordshire since 1974).
3030 Westward Ho 12/1891 10/1894 05/1909 Named after a brand of tobacco produced by W.D. & H.O. Wills. The workers on the gauge conversion in 1892 were issued with 2 ounces (57 g) each.[19]
3031 Achilles 03/1894 07/1912 Namesake of its class of locomotives; previously the name of a Firefly Class locomotive withdrawn in 1867.
3032 Agamemnon 07/1894 10/1913 Agamemnon was a character in Greek mythology; HMS Agamemnon served in both the American Revolutionary War and Napoleonic Wars, and was Nelson's favourite battleship.
3033 Albatross 07/1894 07/1911
3034 Behemoth 07/1894 10/1908 Previously the name of a Pyracmon Class locomotive withdrawn in 1873
3035 Beaufort 07/1894 05/1909 Originally named Bellerophon (previously the name of a Premier Class locomotive withdrawn in 1870); renamed December 1895.
3036 Crusader 09/1894 03/1911
3037 Corsair 09/1894 10/1908 Previously the name of a Bogie Class locomotive withdrawn in 1873; named after the North African pirates.[20]
3038 Devonia 09/1894 10/1908 Named for Devon
3039 Dreadnought 09/1894 07/1915 An allusion to the power of a steam locomotive.[21]
3040 Empress of India 09/1894 03/1912 A title of Queen Victoria
3041 James Mason 10/1894 11/1912 Originally Emlyn; renamed The Queen 1897 (previously the name of a Prince Class locomotive, withdrawn 1870); renamed James Mason June 1910.
3042 Frederick Saunders 10/1894 01/1912
3043 Hercules 01/1895 12/1913 Previously the name of a Hercules Class locomotive withdrawn in 1870
3044 Hurricane 01/1895 10/1908 Named after the horse that won the 1,000 Guineas in 1862[22]
3045 Hirondelle 01/1895 05/1914 Previously the name of a Rover Class locomotive withdrawn in 1891; French for 'swallow'.
3046 Lord of the Isles 01/1895 10/1908 Previously the name of an Iron Duke Class locomotive withdrawn in 1884. Lord of the Isles is a Scottish title of nobility.
3047 Lorna Doone 02/1895 11/1912 A novel by Richard Doddridge Blackmore set in 17th Century Devon, within the GWR region
3048 Majestic 02/1895 06/1913 Named after HMS Majestic, a battleship launched the month prior to the locomotive's delivery[23]
3049 Nelson 02/1895 07/1913 Originally named Prometheus; renamed May 1895. Previously the name of an Ariadne Class locomotive withdrawn in 1873.
3050 Royal Sovereign 02/1895 12/1915 Royal Sovereign was a contemporary term for Queen Victoria.[24] This name was temporarily transferred to Atbara Class locomotive no. 3373 when it hauled the Royal Funeral Train from Paddington on 2 February, 1901.[25]
3051 Stormy Petrel 02/1895 11/1912 Named for the storm-petrel
3052 Sir Walter Raleigh 03/1895 09/1913 Named after the Elizabethan nobleman and explorer who was involved in the English settlement of Virginia, and popularized tobacco smoking in Europe
3053 Sir Francis Drake 03/1895 09/1911 Named after the Elizabethan sea captain, navigator and slave-trader, famous for the defeat of the Spanish Armada and the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe
3054 Sir Richard Grenville 03/1895 10/1911 Named after the Elizabethan privateer and explorer, involved with Raleigh in the settlement of North America, and with Drake's action against the Spanish Armada
3055 Lambert 03/1895 02/1914 Built as Trafalgar (previously the name of an Ariadne Class locomotive withdrawn in 1871); renamed July 1901. Henry Lambert was a captain of the English navy during the Napoleonic Wars.
3056 Wilkinson 03/1895 10/1914 Built as Timour (previously the name of a Rover Class locomotive withdrawn in 1892); renamed July 1901.
3057 Walter Robinson 04/1895 09/1912 Built as Tartar (previously the name of a Rover Class locomotive withdrawn in 1892); renamed July 1901.
3058 Grierson 04/1895 02/1912 Built as Ulysses (previously the name of an Ariadne Class locomotive withdrawn in 1872); renamed May 1895. James Grierson was chief engineer of the GWR; his son William was also a civil engineer on the railway.
3059 John W. Wilson 04/1895 06/1913 Named after John William Wilson, a Worcestershire Liberal Unionist politician.
3060 John G. Griffiths 04/1895 03/1915 Built as Warlock (previously the name of a Rover Class locomotive withdrawn 1892); renamed 03/1908, after a director of the GWR 1908–22;[16] name removed 03/1914.
3061 George A. Wills 05/1897 12/1912 Built as Alexandra;[26] name removed 11/1910; renamed 10/1911 after George Alfred Wills, a GWR director and chairman of Imperial Tobacco.[27]
3062 Albert Edward 05/1897 04/1915 Named after the first son of Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales and future King Edward VII
3063 Duke of York 06/1897 01/1912 Named after George Frederick, the grandson of Queen Victoria who would later become King George V.
3064 Duke of Edinburgh 06/1897 09/1911 Named after Alfred, Queen Victoria's second son.
3065 Duke of Connaught 07/1897 10/1914 Named after Arthur, Queen Victoria's third son.
3066 Duchess of Albany 12/1897 10/1913 Named after Helena, the wife of Queen Victoria's youngest son Leopold.
3067 Duchess of Teck 12/1897 12/1914 Named after Queen Victoria's cousin, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge (mother of Mary of Teck, who became Queen Mary as wife of King George V)
3068 Duke of Cambridge 01/1898 11/1912 Named after Queen Victoria's cousin, Prince George, Duke of Cambridge, who was commander-in-chief of the British Army until 1895
3069 Earl of Chester 01/1898 06/1912 A title given to Albert Edward when he became Prince of Wales.
3070 Earl of Warwick 02/1898 10/1914 Named after Francis Greville, a Conservative politician who served in the House of Commons 1879–92 and the House of Lords until his death in 1924.
3071 Emlyn 02/1898 10/1914 Named after the Emlyn area of South Wales, served by the GWR
3072 Bulkeley 06/1898 08/1912 Built as North Star (previously the name of a Star Class locomotive withdrawn 1871); name removed early 1906; renamed 09/1906 (previously the name of a Sir Watkin Class locomotive withdrawn 1872).
3073 Princess Royal 06/1898 10/1912 Title of Queen Victoria's eldest daughter
3074 Princess Helena 06/1898 12/1915 Named after Queen Victoria's third daughter
3075 Princess Louise 07/1898 06/1912 Named after the eldest daughter of Albert Edward and granddaughter of Queen Victoria
3076 Princess Beatrice 02/1899 07/1912 Named after Queen Victoria's fifth daughter
3077 Princess May 02/1899 11/1912 Named after George Frederick's wife Mary of Teck
3078 Eupatoria 02/1899 11/1911 Previously the name of a Rover Class locomotive withdrawn 1892; the Battle of Eupatoria was fought in the Crimean War
3079 Thunderbolt 02/1899 09/1911
3080 Windsor Castle 03/1899 10/1913 Named after the residence of the Royal Family, in Berkshire[28]


Hornby Railways manufacture a model of the 3031 Class in OO gauge.

A model of the "Duke of Connaught" was produced by Lesney Products as Y-14 in the Models of Yesteryear range from 1959 to 1963.

Civic heraldry[edit]

Borough of Swindon arms on 1905 'JaJa' postcard

The coat of arms of the old Borough of Swindon (1900–74) includes an image of 3029 White Horse on the shield.[29] The coat of arms was displayed on the splashers of the last Castle Class built (No. 7037 Swindon). STEAM Museum of the Great Western Railway at Swindon acquired one of the splashers in 2012.[30]


  1. ^ Fryer 1993, p. 73.
  2. ^ a b Holcroft 1971, p. 63.
  3. ^ Fryer 1993, pp. 75–76.
  4. ^ Holcroft 1971, p. 62.
  5. ^ Russell 1999, p. 42.
  6. ^ Fryer 1993, p. 76.
  7. ^ Fryer 1993, pp. 77–78.
  8. ^ a b Fryer 1993, p. 78.
  9. ^ a b Holcroft 1971, p. 117.
  10. ^ Daniel, John. "3001 'Dean Single' class introduction". The Great Western Archive. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  11. ^ "3041 GWR Dean 3031 Achillies Class 4-2-2". Preserved British Steam Locomotives. 15 July 2018. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  12. ^ Nock 1954, p. 32.
  13. ^ Hinchcliffe 1983, pp. 91, 92.
  14. ^ Jones, David. "Bluebell Railway Atlantic Group". Bluebell Railway. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  15. ^ Davies 1993, p. P121.
  16. ^ a b Davies 1993, p. P127.
  17. ^ Davies 1993, p. P141.
  18. ^ Davies 1993, p. P156.
  19. ^ Davies 1993, p. P154.
  20. ^ Davies 1993, p. P114.
  21. ^ Davies 1993, p. P117.
  22. ^ Davies 1993, p. P126.
  23. ^ Davies 1993, p. P133.
  24. ^ Davies 1993, p. P143.
  25. ^ le Fleming 1954, pp. G36, G37.
  26. ^ Davies 1993, p. P105.
  27. ^ Davies 1993, p. P122.
  28. ^ Davies 1993, p. P155.
  29. ^ Bryan, Salter & Smith 2008, p. 24.
  30. ^ BBC News 2012.


  • BBC News (17 November 2012). "STEAM museum buys 'rare' wheel guard from Swindon locomotive". Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  • Allcock, N. J.; Davies, F. K.; le Fleming, H. M.; Maskelyne, J. N.; Reed, P. J. T.; Tabor, F. J. (1968) [1951]. White, D. E. (ed.). The Locomotives of the Great Western Railway, part one: Preliminary Survey. Kenilworth: RCTS.
  • Bryan, Tim; Salter, Jeff; Smith, Peter (2008). STEAM Museum of the Great Western Railway (2nd ed.). Peterborough, UK: Heritage House. ISBN 978-0-85101-898-0.
  • Davies, Ken (April 1993). The Locomotives of the Great Western Railway, part fourteen: Names and their Origins - ... Lincoln: RCTS. ISBN 0-901115-75-4.
  • Fryer, Charles (1993). Single Wheeler Locomotives: The Brief Age Of Perfection. Sparkford: Haynes Publishing Group. ISBN 0-86093-506-X.
  • Hinchcliffe, G (March 1983). "Gentlemen- 'The Queen'". The Railway Magazine. Vol. 129, no. 983.
  • Holcroft, Harold (1971) [1957]. An Outline of Great Western Locomotive Practice 1837-1947 (2nd ed.). Shepperton: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-0228-2.
  • le Fleming, H.M. (October 1954). White, D.E. (ed.). The Locomotives of the Great Western Railway, part seven: Dean's Larger Tender Engines. Kenilworth: RCTS. ISBN 0-901115-18-5.
  • Nock, O.S. (1954). 60 years of Western Express Running. Ian Allan Ltd.
  • Nock, O.S. (1977). Standard Gauge Great Western 4-4-0s: Part 1: Inside Cylinder Classes 1894-1910. Newton Abbot: David and Charles. ISBN 0-7153-7411-7.
  • Russell, J.H. (1999) [1975]. A Pictorial Record of Great Western Engines: Volume One:Gooch, Armstrong & Dean Locomotives. Shepperton: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-86093-398-9.

External links[edit]