GWR 4500 Class

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GWR 4500 Class
4566 Bridgnorth.jpg
Preserved 4566 at Bridgnorth on the Severn Valley Railway
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Designer George Jackson Churchward
  • Wolverhampton Works (20)
  • Swindon Works (55)
Serial number
  • Wolverhampton 775–794
  • Swindon: 2310–19, 2496–2505, 2597–2611
Build date 1906–1924
Total produced 75
 • Whyte 2-6-2T
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Driver dia. 4 ft 7 12 in (1.410 m)
Loco weight 57 long tons (58 t; 64 short tons)
Fuel type Coal
Boiler pressure 200 psi (1.4 MPa)
Cylinders Two, outside
Cylinder size 17 in × 24 in (432 mm × 610 mm)
Performance figures
Tractive effort 21,250 lbf (94.5 kN)
Class 4500
Power class
  • GWR: C
  • BR: 4MT
Axle load class GWR: Yellow
Withdrawn February 1950 – September 1964
Disposition Three preserved, remainder scrapped

The Great Western Railway (GWR) 4500 Class or Small Prairie is a class of 2-6-2T steam locomotives.


They were designed as small mixed traffic branch locomotives, mainly used on branch lines. The design was based on the earlier 4400 Class, but with larger driving wheels and altered wheel spacing. This gave them extra speed — capable of 60 mph (97 km/h) in service.[1] A total of 75 were built; 55 were built in four batches between 1906 and 1915 and a fifth batch of 20 locos was built in 1924, during Collett's tenure at Swindon. The first two batches were originally numbered 2161–2190 but were renumbered 4500–4529 during 1912. The first batch (2161–2180) is significant in that it was the last batch of locos built at Stafford Road Works, Wolverhampton.[2] Of this batch 2168 (as 4507) was the last Wolverhampton-built loco to remain in service with BR, not being withdrawn until 1963. The final two batches built were nos. 4530-4554 in 1913-15 and nos. 4555-4574 in 1924.

The 4575 Class was a later development with larger side tanks.


Three of the class still exist, two of them survivors from Woodham Brothers scrapyard in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales. All of them have run in preservation but none are presently operational.


4555 was bought in working order from British Railways by Patrick Whitehouse and fellow Talyllyn Railway member Pat Garland, so has never had to be restored. Originally working on the Dart Valley Railway, she later moved to the Dartmouth Steam Railway. Currently named "Warrior", she last worked in 2007. Under restoration since 2014, including a new boiler being built at Tyseley Loco Works.[3]


This locomotive left Woodham Brothers in September 1975. It is currently undergoing an extensive overhaul on the West Somerset Railway, having been out of service since 1998.[4]


Currently stored out of service on the Severn Valley Railway awaiting an overhaul, this locomotive left Woodham Brothers in August 1970. It returned to service in late 2006 following an overhaul and after several years painted in Great Western green, was repainted into BR unlined black with the early crest for the first time in preservation. It was withdrawn from service in January 2017 following the expiry of her boiler certificate.[5]

See also[edit]


  • le Fleming, H.M. (February 1962). White, D.E., ed. The Locomotives of the Great Western Railway, part nine: Standard Two-Cylinder Classes. RCTS. 
  • Holcroft, H. (1957). Great Western Locomotive Practice 1837–1947. London: Locomotive Publishing Company. 
  • Whitehurst, Brian (1973). Great Western Engines, Names, Numbers, Types and Classes (1940 to Preservation). Oxford, UK: Oxford Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-9028-8821-0. OCLC 815661. 

External links[edit]