Pete Rich

This locomotive was built by the late Pete Rich and shown by Nigel Dickinson at the 2016 Bristol exhibition. It is a Great Western Queen class 2-2-2 no 1118, Prince Christian, dating from 1875.

Before the advent of the iconic Dean Single engines it was Joseph Armstrong’s last 2-2-2 class express locos that reigned for 30 years. The Queens started life as a single prototype, with No 55 Queen, built at Swindon in 1873.

A further 20 locomotives were constructed in 1875, numbered 999, 1000 and 1116-1133. No.999 was named Sir Alexander and sometimes the later series is referred to as the Sir Alexander Class. They had 7 ft diameter driving wheels and 18” by 24” cylinders. Main duties were the expresses on the London-Swindon-Gloucester and London-Wolverhampton routes. Unsurprisingly, No 55 became the principal royal locomotive on the GW, carrying the coat of arms for royal journeys.

Individual members of the class were modified in detail with the addition of cabs, different chimneys and various types of boiler. Some had Belpaire fireboxes. After 1900 the class was demoted to secondary duties in various parts of the system, and all were withdrawn between 1903 and 1914.

All but a handful had more than one million miles to their credit at the time of withdrawal. None survive but a static replica of The Queen was commissioned by Tussauds for the Railways and Royalty exhibition at Windsor and Eton Central railway station. The replica loco was completed in December 1982.