Midlands exhibit


This superb model of a GWR 6000 King class loco was shown at the 2018 Midlands Model Engineering Exhibition.

As the first of the class, No.6000 was specifically named after the then monarch, King George V. Built at Swindon Works and June 1927, it was shipped to the United States two months later, to take part in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company's centenary celebrations. During the celebrations it was presented with a bell and a plaque, which are carried to this day. It was withdrawn by the Western Region of British Railways in December 1962 after covering 1,910,424 miles.

The Kings, designed by C B Collett, were the final development of the four cylinder GWR locomotives following the Star and Castle classes. They were the most powerful locos when introduced and the most powerful ever on the GW. Thirty one were produced. Three have survived into preservation.

King George V was preserved as part of the national collection. It was restored to main line running order at the Bulmer's Railway Centre in Hereford and in 1971 it became the first steam locomotive to break the British Railways mainline steam ban. Its restoration to main line service and subsequent operation is often credited with opening the door for the return of steam to the main lines of the UK.

The higher ballast beds in place on the Western Region since the early 1980s, to allow for the high speed running of the InterCity 125 train sets, greatly reduced the running level so that running of a King class now requires a reduction in the height of the original GWR-built chimney, cab and safety valve bonnets by 4 inches. No.6000 is the only one of the three preserved Kings to retain its original-built full-height fittings.

After closure of the Bulmer's Steam Centre, No.6000 moved to the Swindon Steam Railway Museum. In 2008, it swapped places with BR standard class 9F 92220 Evening Star, and became resident at the National Railway Museum. In late 2015, No. 6000, along with No. 3717 City of Truro, returned to Swindon.

Many King models in 5” gauge are based on the design by Charles Kennion and Keith Wilson for Kennion Bros, now GLR Kennions Ltd who still supply drawings and castings at very reasonable prices. The set of 12 drawings is just £54.00 at the time of writing and driving wheel castings £38.00 each. Most other castings are in gunmetal. In 5” gauge these models  come out at 6’ long.