Hornby R3237 GWR 4-6-0 Castle Class Caerphilly Castle DCC Ready Special Edition
As a development of the earlier Star Class, the first Castle Class locomotive was built in 1923 and was one of the many locomotives to be designed by Charles Collett, the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the GWR. The race was on and the competition was high amongst railway companies around Britain at this time to develop faster and more efficient locomotives. During the twenty-seven year period from August 1923 through to August 1950, there were 171 Castle Class locomotives built at the GWR’s Swindon Works with all but 16 of these being new builds.
At the time of their introduction, the Castles were hailed as the most powerful locomotives on any British railway, with the GWR displaying the Class prototype, “Caerphilly Castle” at the 1924 British Empire Exhibition. The locomotive’s ability to sustain high speeds and remain economical was enviable. The “Castles” soon earned a reputation for excellence and reliability, setting a record in 1932 for a 77 mile journey between Swindon and Paddington at an average speed of 81.68 mph. At the time this represented the World Record for steam traction.
Withdrawal commenced in the very early 1950s and by December 1965 all of the Class had been ‘retired”. Although all Castle Class locomotives were destined to be scrapped there were eight that survived including ‘Caerphilly Castle’.
Locomotive No. 4073 ‘Caerphilly Castle’ was outshopped on the 31st August 1923 and by the time of Nationalisation in 1948, locomotive 4073 was on shed at 81A Old Oak Common. ‘Caerphilly Castle’ was withdrawn from shed 86C, Cardiff Canton on the 31st May 1960 and is now part of the National Collection and is on static display at Steam, The Museum of the Great Western Railway, Swindon.