Alan Crossfield

Anthony Mount

The 57xx class was the most numerous of any on the Great Western Railway with a total of 863 engines. The first was introduced in 1929 as a development of the 2721 class dating from the previous century. The engines were primarily intended for light goods and shunting,and proving extremely reliable and were also useful for light passenger services and, in emergency, express runs.

Production continued in batches until soon after nationalization, the last being turned out in 1949. This class of locomotives were rated by the late GWR guru, Pete Rich, as the finest to appear on the Great Western, above even the Kings and Castles.

Many were built by outside contractors such as North British, Bagnall, Kerr Stuart, Yorkshire Engine, Armstrong Whitworth and Beyer Peacock as well as GWR's works at Swindon. Sixteen of the class have survived into preservation, a number of them via London Transport and the National Coal Board, both bodies continuing to employ them long after the demise of their classmates on the main line. Many main line preservation societies have a 57xx on their register, still doing excellent work. No 7713 was built by Kerr Stuart in 1930 and scrapped in 1962.

The locomotive weighs 49 tons and operates at a boiler pressure of 200 PSI. They have two inside cylinders of 17 inches bore by 24 inches stroke, driving 4ft 7 in. diameter driving wheels.

A 5” gauge design for this engine originated in the late 1950s by the prolific LBSC from works drawings, and his Pansy construction series ran in the Model Engineer magazine for a couple of years. More recently Doug Hewson designed a super detailed version.

Alan Crossfield is recognized as one of the great builders of working GWR models. We are lucky to  see his amazing  workmanship here, prior to painting this pannier tank.

Photos by John Arrowsmith.