The final development of Churchward's Star class and Collett's Castles, the Kings were the most powerful locomotives on the Great Western Railway, and for several years the most powerful passenger engines in the country.
6023 King Edward II emerged from Swindon Works in June 1930 and spent all its life until the last year or so allocated to Newton Abbot and Laira (Plymouth). Withdrawn from Cardiff in June 1962, it was returned to Swindon for breaking up. Coupled to its twin 6024 King Edward I, from which it had rarely been separated throughout its working life, it was given one last unusual job - to be towed dead over a bridge for weight testing purposes. This miraculously resulted in both engines being dumped in Woodham Bros. yard in Barry instead of being hauled back to Swindon and scrapped.
There they remained, coupled together, until 6024 was saved in 1974, leaving 6023, whose wheels had been cut through after a derailment. As their contribution to celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of the GWR's formation in 1985, Messrs Harveys of Bristol bought the hulk and moved it to Temple Meads station. Subsequently they released it to the Society, who brought it to Didcot in 1990.
The locomotive has been completely rebuilt by the Great Western Society in a major engineering project which has taken over 20 years to complete. The restored locomotive moved under its own power for the first time on 20 January 2011, and entered traffic with an official launch ceremony at Didcot on April 2.
It is expected that 6023 will undertake its first main line duties during 2014 although no dates have yet been proposed. Installation of all the required electronic safety systems is well advanced and work continues on various mechanical works necessary for main line operation. All the components required to lower the height of the locomotive to meet the present loading gauge are on site at Didcot. We are recruiting a main line support crew from among the Didcot volunteers and hope to be in a position to undertake a main line trial run during the late spring.
Click on any of the pictures on this page for a larger version.
|Wheel Arrangement||4 - 6 - 0|
|Cylinders||(4) 16.25 x 28 inches|
|Driving wheel diameter||6 feet 6 inches|
|Tractive Effort||40,300 pounds|
|Weight||135 tons 5 cwt.|
|Coal Capacity||6 Tons|
|Water Capacity||4,000 gallons|
|Route Availability||Double Red|
|Power Class||Special (BR:8P)|
|Boiler type||GWR No. 12|
|Boiler pressure||250 lbs/sq in|
|Barrel maximum dia.||6 ft 0 in|
|Barrel length||16ft 0 in|
|Area of firegrate||34.3 sq ft|
|Heating surfaces, firebox||194 sq ft|
|Heating surfaces, tubes||2008 sq ft|
|Superheater Area||313 sq ft|
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