Reality Check: GWR ‘Kings’ - the ultimate 4-6-0

Widely regarded as the ultimate development of the Great Western 4-6-0, ‘Kings’ were locomotives of great beauty and extremely powerful workhorses as well, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES relates.

King Class
Above: GWR ‘King’ 6022 King Edward III has just passed Tigley signalbox as it slogs up Rattery Bank with the 3.30pm London Paddington-Truro on June 22 1939. Hugh Harman/Rail Archive Stephenson.

IN THE HEYDAY of the Great Western Railway (GWR) the line’s immaculate expresses were a publicist’s dream. Fast colourful trains ran from the capital to the big cities of the west and onwards to the coastal areas of Devon and Cornwall pulled by imposing green locomotives with copper capped chimneys and inspiring names. The most powerful of these, which were trusted with handling the most prestigious services, was the 30-strong ‘King’ class, a design written about in popular publications such as The Boys Wonder Book of Speed, on posters everywhere and even featured on cigarette and playing cards.

The appe

Want to read more?

This is a premium article and requires an active Key Model World subscription.

Existing subscriber? Sign in now

No subscription?

Enjoy the following subscriber only benefits:

  • Unlimited access to all Key Model World content
  • Exclusive product reviews, latest news, builds and highly detailed layouts
  • Read 5,300 articles, in a fully searchable archive of modelling content growing daily!
  • Access to read the official Hornby Magazine and Airfix Model World online, brought to life with video and additional imagery
  • Access on any device- anywhere, anytime
  • Choose from our offers below