GWR '14xx' CLASS
ften considered to be the perfect branch line loco-motive the ‘14xx’ was designed by C.B. Collett and built at Swindon. Introduced in 1932 as a direct replacement for the older 517 Class the ‘14xx’ Class was assigned to branch line duties. The ‘14xx’ weighed a little over 40 tons with a water capacity of 800 gallons and a bunker for just 2 tons of coal.

However, with a Great Western specified haulage capacity of 168 tons (4 coaches) their diminutive size belied their power and the locomotives were well capable of 70 mph.

The ‘14xx’ Class was originally classified as ‘48xx’ until 1946 when they were re-numbered. The previous numbers were re-assigned to ‘28xx’ Class 2-8-0 locomotives which had been converted to oil burning.




No. 1466   
Photograph courtesy of Andy Wray

  All of the 75 in the class were fitted for auto-train working. This saw the locomotive fitted with an auto coach which had a cab at one end whereby the train could be driven, through a series of linkages, either from the locomotive, or the coach.
 The fireman remained in the locomotive cab to attend the fire while the driver issued instructions through use of bell codes and whistle for the operation of the brake, reversing and sanding gear etc. This method of train ideal for branch lines avoiding the need for the locomotive to run round at terminal stations.

A further 20 locomotives were produced identical to the initial 75. These were classified as ‘58xx’ Class and numbered 5800 - 5819. Only ten of these engines were ultimately converted to push/pull working with auto-coaches between 1936 and 1938.

The ‘14xx’ Class was to be found on the majority of Great Western Railway's branch lines and was taken on by British Railways on Nationalisation in 1948. Unfortunately the restructuring of the railway under Dr Beeching's proposals saw the closure of many branch lines on whose very existence the Class depended.

There are four survivors of the Class: numbers 1450, 1466, 1420 and 1442.

1450 was a long serving locomotive on the "Marlow Donkey" (Marlow-Bourne End) although most of its 30 year career was spent in Oxfordshire. It was originally delivered new as 4850 in early 1935. Along with 1442 the locomotive was one of the last two of the Class in active service. All of the Class was declared withdrawn by w/e 10th May 1965.

The Dart Valley Railway acquired 1450 in 1966 and it was bought by its present owners in 1994.

1466 was acquired from British Railways in March 1964 for £750 by the newly formed Great Western Society based at Didcot. It had the unfortunate experience in its GWR days of being rammed by a "Hall" Class locomotive while waiting at Newton Abbot and running free without its driver until a derailment halted its progress. With the closure of the Kingsbridge branch in September 1963 1466 was re-allocated to Taunton and officially withdrawn by the year end.

1420 is the oldest survivor of the ‘14xx’ Class being built at Swindon in 1933 and delivered as 4820. In 1956 it had the distinction of working the Royal Train for the Queen's visit to Abington. Withdrawn from B.R. service in 1964 the locomotive was acquired by the Dart Valley Railway and delivered to Buckfastleigh in 1965.

1442 was purchased by Viscount
Amory from B.R. in 1965 and
presented to the town of Tiverton
where it now resides in the local