Graham Hawkins

The 4700 class was the last to be designed for the GWR by G. J. Churchward. It was a mighty 2-8-0 fast freight loco which was also used to haul heavy passenger express trains carrying summer holiday makers to the West Country. They entered service just after he retired. Just nine were built as Lot 221 of 1921, restricted in use by the limited number of lines on which they could run. They were fitted with the large No7 boiler, although the prototype was first fitted with a No 1 boiler which proved inadequate. However, that boiler became standard on the ubiquitous Hall and Grange classes by Collett used for mixed work on a more extensive network. The No 7 boiler was unique to the 4700s, apart from a longer version fitted to the King class.

Driving and coupled wheels of the 4700s were 5’ 8” dia and the total length was 66’ 4.25”. It weighed in at 82 tons. Both 3,500 and 4,000 gallon tenders were used adding up to another 47 tons when full.

The class was withdrawn from 1962 to 1964. None survived into preservation. However, the Great Western Society decided to create the next loco in the sequence and no 4709 is now under construction using a mixture of new parts and others recycled from the Barry scrapyard. Details of the GWR 47XX project can be found on their website GWR 47xx along with how to become involved with this great venture.

A number of earlier GW 2-8-0s have been preserved from the smaller 28XX class also designed by Churchward and produced from 1905 to 1919. Two are operational, on the Severn Valley Railway and the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway. Three GW 2-8-0 tank locos of the 5205 class and two from the GW 7200 class of 2-8-2T engines converted from the 5205 class also survive. Martin Evans produced a design for the 28XX in 5” gauge.

This fine model of 4700 was built by Graham Hawkins and displayed at the Bristol exhibition in 2017.

Many 47xx 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 reasonable prices. The set of 12 drawings is just £49.50 at the time of writing.