GWR 7800 Class
The Great Western Railway (GWR) 7800 Class or Manor Class is a class of 4-6-0 steam locomotive. They were designed as a lighter version of the GWR Grange Class, giving them a wider Route Availability. Like the 'Granges', the 'Manors' used parts from the GWR 4300 Class Moguls but just on the first batch of twenty. Twenty were built between 1938 and 1939, with British Railways adding a further 10 in 1950. They were named after Manors in the area covered by the Great Western Railway. Nine are preserved.
Although successful mixed traffic designs, neither the Hall nor the Grange 4-6-0 classes were able to cover the full range of duties previously undertaken by the 4300 Class 2-6-0 locomotives due to their ‘red’ weight classification. By the late 1930s a lighter version of the Grange class was urgently required for those cross-country and branch line duties forbidden to heavier locomotives. A new lighter (Swindon No.14) boiler was therefore designed, and as with the Grange Class, the driving wheels and motion components were recovered from withdrawn members of the 4300 Class. The Manor class, with an axle loading of just over 17 tons, could be utilised on many lines from which the heavier Granges were barred 
The first of the Manors No.7800 Torquay Manor was built at Swindon Works and entered traffic in January 1938. By February 1939 twenty were in service but outbreak of war forced the cancellation of construction of a further batch of twenty locomotives. After nationalisation, the newly created Western Region of British Railways was authorised to build ten more of the class. Nos.7820-29 at Swindon in November and December 1950.
Unlike the Granges of 1936 where the use of a standard design and the re-use of existing components had produced a masterpiece, the initial performance of the Manors was comparatively mediocre. ‘Were it not for the constraints of war there is every reason to expect that Swindon would have recalled the engines for modifications’ There was no attempt to improve the steaming; a British Railway edict permitted construction only of existing pre-nationalisation designs. Subsequent trials showed the engines did not require too much work to correct their faults. Internal alterations to the blastpipe and an increase in air space in the firegrate added to the new type of narrow chimney noticeably improved the draughting. After trials on ten of the class, the improvements became standard after July 1954.
The first examples were despatched to depots at Wolverhampton, Bristol, Gloucester, Shrewsbury, Westbury in Wiltshire and Neyland in South Wales. In October 1938 No.7805 Broome Manor underwent clearance tests between Ruabon and Barmouth. Subsequently, the class were used over the main lines of the erstwhile Cambrian Railways, with its headquarters and works in Oswestry. The Manors were also successfully employed in the West Country where they were used for banking and piloting trains over the Devon banks between Newton Abbot and Plymouth. Their light axleloading also allowed them across the Tamar Bridge and on to the branch lines of Cornwall.
By 1959 twenty-one Manors were congregated in Mid- and South Wales. Their most prestigious working was the Cambrian Coast Express, where a Manor took over from a King or Castle at Shrewsbury and worked through to Aberystwyth. Others of the class operated in the Birmingham, Gloucester and Hereford areas while the handful stationed at Reading frequently ventured on to the Southern Region line to Guildford and Redhill.
Withdrawal and Preservation
The first Manor to be withdrawn was No.7809 Childrey Manor, of Shrewsbury depot in April 1963 and which was cut up at Swindon. By May 1965 the numbers had been halved and the final two in service, No.7808 Cookham Manor of Gloucester, and No.7829 Ramsbury Manor of Didcot, were condemned in December 1965. Remarkably, for a relatively small class where thirty engines were built, nine examples have been preserved.
Operation in preservation
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All nine members of the manor class that have survived into preservation have operated at some point in their preserved career and of the nine manors to survive in preservation, all four of the GWR built Manors have seen main line operation: Nos. 7802 Bradley Manor, 7808 Cookham Manor, 7812 Erlestoke Manor and 7819 Hinton Manor.
In the 1970s, no. 7808 Cookham Manor was used by the Great Western Society (GWS) to haul nine vintage ex-GWR carriages on an annual outing on the main line from Didcot to Birmingham. Today 7808 is on static display inside the GWS shed at Didcot awaiting an overhaul.
7812 Erlestoke Manor only worked a small number of railtours in the 1980s. Also certified for mainline operation in the 1980s was fellow SVR based engine 7819 Hinton Manor. She worked a number of railtours along former Great Western routes including the famous Cambrian Coast Line. Both engines also saw use in 1985 during the 150th anniversary of the Great Western Railway with the latter hauling most of the railtours of the 2 engines. During one run in Apr 1985 when 7819 double headed with 6000 King George V on a railtour from Bristol to Plymouth, after 6000 was failed at Taunton due to an overheated axle box 7819 was tasked with hauling the train onto Plymouth alone. This plan however backfired after 7819 was failed at Exeter also due to a hot box, she was however repaired overnight and worked back to Bristol the following day with fellow SVR based engine 4930 Hagley Hall (which had travelled overnight from the SVR). This was a part of the Severn Valley Railway's significant mainline operations at that time. 7812 is currently operational on the SVR but isn't mainline certified and 7819 is on static display in Swindon.
7802 "Bradley Manor" was the last and most recent member of the class to have operated on the national network. She was booked as a regular engine to work The Torbay Express in 2003 but after running a hot box on the first run her place was taken by GWR Castle Class 4-6-0 no 5051 Earl Bathurst, with 7802 returning for the remaining 2 trips. Despite being only halfway through its period of mainline certification, Bradley Manor did not run on the national network beyond 2007. This was because from April 2007 new Network Rail standards were introduced, requiring all locomotives running on the mainline including mainline approved preserved steam locomotives to be fitted with on-train monitoring recorders/black boxes (OTMR) before the end of 2007. Because it was not planned to put Bradley Manor back on the national network after its then mainline certificate expired in 2010, and because the Erlestoke Manor Fund, its owner was dedicating its finances to the overhaul of the other Manor in its care, it was decided to withdraw Bradley Manor from working on the mainline. Bradley Manor did however operate for a grace period until the end of 2007. She is now operational on the Severn Valley Railway after emerging from a complete overhaul in Nov 2015.
None of the BR built manors have operated on the mainline in preservation & beyond 2008 no manors have operated on the national network, and as of 2016 there are no immediate plans currently in place to alter that situation.
See List of GWR 7800 Class locomotives for all Manor locomotives built. Nine locomotives have been preserved:
|7802||Bradley Manor||Severn Valley Railway||Severn Valley Railway||Erlestoke Manor Fund||Operational||BR Lined Green, Late Crest|
|7808||Cookham Manor||Didcot Railway Centre||Didcot Railway Centre||Great Western Society||Static Display||GWR Unlined Green, Shirtbutton Logo|
|7812||Erlestoke Manor||Severn Valley Railway||Severn Valley Railway||Erlestoke Manor Fund||Operational||BR Lined Green, Late Crest|
|7819||Hinton Manor||Severn Valley Railway||Swindon Designer Outlet||SVR Rolling Stock Trust||Static Display||GWR Unlined Green, Shirtbutton Logo|
|7820||Dinmore Manor||Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway||Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway||Dinmore Manor Locomotive Ltd.||Operational||BR Unlined Black, Early Emblem|
|7821||Ditcheat Manor||West Somerset Railway||STEAM Museum Swindon||West Somerset Railway Association||Static Display||BR Lined Black, Early Emblem|
|7822||Foxcote Manor||Llangollen Railway||Llangollen Railway||Foxcote Manor Society||Operational||BR Unlined Black, Early Emblem|
|7827||Lydham Manor||Dartmouth Steam Railway||Dartmouth Steam Railway||Dart Valley Railway plc||Operational||BR Lined Black, Early Emblem|
|7828||Odney Manor||West Somerset Railway||West Somerset Railway||West Somerset Railway||Operational||BR Lined Green, Early Emblem|
|Boiler maximum dia.||5 feet 3 inches (1.60 m)|
|Boiler minimum dia.||4 feet 7 5⁄8 inches (1.413 m)|
|Boiler length||13 feet 0 5/16 inches|
|Fire tubes, no. and dia.||158 × 2 inches (51 mm)|
|Flue tubes, no. and dia.||12 × 5 1⁄8 inches (130 mm)|
|Superheater tubes, no. and dia.||72 × 1 inch (25 mm)|
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Prior to 2011, Ixion created a model of the 78xx in N scale. As of 17 November 2011 Dapol purchased the rights to produce the Ixion 78xx. As of February 2017, Dapol offer a Model of 7805 Broome Manor in N gauge including a variant with DCC support.
In 4 mm scale a model has been available from Bachmann, although it is not in the current range.
- le Fleming 1962, p. H36
- Herring, Peter (2004). Classic British Steam Locomotives. Wigston: Abbeydale Press. p. 140. ISBN 1 86147 138 6.
- Holcroft 1971, p. 156
- Herring (2004), p.140.
- Herring (2004), pp.140-141.
- Herring (2004), p.141.
- Bradley, Rodger (1988). GWR Two Cylinder 4–6–0s and 2–6–0s. Newton Abbot, Devon: David and Charles Publishers plc.
- Holcroft, Harold (1971) . An Outline of Great Western Locomotive Practice 1837-1947 (2nd ed.). Shepperton: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-0228-2.
- Whitehurst, Brian (1973). Great Western engines, names, numbers, types, classes: 1940 to preservation. Oxford: Oxford Publishing Company. pp. 68–69, 103, 128. ISBN 0-902888-21-8. OCLC 815661.
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