It has been a great and delightful surprise that new full-size steam locomotives are being built these days. Latest exciting idea to attempt to get going is no less than a Dean Single at the Didcot Railway Centre.

The Dean Single was described by the J N Maskelyne as “almost sacred”.

“They stood apart from all other engines, and they achieved the summit of beauty in locomotive design,” he said.

And who would argue with the great man?

JNM is less enthusiastic, scathing actually, about the later rebuilds of the Dean Singles.

These locos have been modelled in every size from 4mm upwards. However, they
are rare in 7.25” gauge like this model, photographed at the 2012 Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition. Like the originals this model manages what Maskelyne describes as a “truly arresting appearance, with its beautiful proportions,  green and Indian red livery, black and orange lining and the lavish display of polished brass, copper and steel. Yet this was not overdone It was just right...” Amen to that.

The driving wheels were 7’ 9” dia. The bogie wheels were 4’ 1.5” and the trailing wheels 4’ 7.5”. The cylinders were 19” dia. by 24” stroke. The steam chest was located under the cylinders with upside-down valves driven directly by elegant Stephenson’s link motion. The boiler was 4’ 3” dia. with a raised round-top firebox. The steam space was augmented by the large polished brass dome. Tenders were the standard 3000 gallon type with coal rails which made a perfect fit with the engine.

Didcot reports: “Following the successful launch of our Victorian Carriage Fund last year, a number of people have suggested that the construction of a 3031 class 4-2-2, otherwise known as a Dean Bogie Single would enhance the collection even further as well as bridging the gap between the Broad Gauge and the 20th Century eras.

“This was raised at the Annual General Meeting last September and the suggestion was made that we should try and ascertain what level of interest and support there may be as a first step. Clearly it is a long journey from a suggestion to a reality, but there does seen to be quite a bit of interest in re-creating the elegance and grandeur of a Victorian train...

“Some investigative work has already been carried out, but before anyone can think about ordering the first piece of steel there is much more work needed to be done.”

“It is important to note if this went ahead that this would be a new project in which there is an opening for new people to become involved and make a positive input.”

If you are interested or can help please email:

Meanwhile, the project at Didcot to re-create a Saint loco is progressing well. Just £50,000 needs to be raised to finish No 2999 Lady of Legend. The plan is to raise a further £30,000 to enable the loco to also run sometimes as a GWR 4-4-2 Atlantic.
Anyone who donates £100 to the Saint project before July 13 will have a chance to win one of two full-size replica name and number sets. See more on the project at: Model engineer Pete Rich was a mover for this project, and produced the design. He also, of course, produced the great Dean Single design in 5” gauge available from Practical Scale (Polly Models).