Great Western King Class 4-6-0s: From Construction to Withdrawal (Pen & Sword)

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By David Maidment. Part of the Locomotive Portfolios series of books from Pen & Sword Publishing, which examines different steam locomotive types in detail.

The King Class is perhaps the greatest of all the steam locomotives built by the Great Western Railway. In response to pressure to restore the GWR’s pre-eminence in motive power and to cope with increasing traffic post-war to the Devon and Cornwall holiday resorts, 30 King Class locomotives were built from 1927 and they remained in top-link service until replaced by diesel traction in the 1960s.

The King Class was the final development of the Churchward “Stars” and the 1923 “Castles”. Great Western King Class 4-6-0s: From Construction to Withdrawal describes their design and construction, before looking in detail at their operation and performance, supported by many recorded logs on all the main GWR routes over which they were permitted to operate.

The book also includes an insight into the thinking of some of Collett’s senior staff at the end of the 1930s, leading to the eventual transformation of the class in latter years with redraughting and double chimneys.

The author had first-hand experience of the class when working at Old Oak Common depot between 1957 and 1962 and the book includes a chapter of his experiences with them including many footplate trips. Well illustrated with over 300 photographs of which 100 are in colour. 272 pages. Hardback.

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