OUR project to re-create one of the Great Western Railway’s ‘County’ class 4-4-0 locomotives has taken a significant step forward with the casting of the first pair of coupled wheels for No. 3840 County of Montgomery.
The order for the four 6ft 8½in coupled wheels was placed with Trefoil Steel in Sheffield in March of this year, and the first two wheels for the rear wheelset were cast during April using the pattern kindly loaned to the CCT by the Great Western Society at Didcot. This pattern had previously been used to cast the wheels for ‘Saint’ 4-6-0 No. 2999 Lady of Legend.
Before the second pair of wheels are cast Trefoil Steel will modify the pattern to increase the size of the centre boss. The original Churchward ‘Counties’ had two different designs of wheel; the leading driven wheels having a 5¾in centre boss and the rear wheels a 4¾in centre boss. The pattern as loaned has the smaller boss, hence the need to make the alteration. The modification work will cost £2,700 to complete.
The wheels have been cast using funds provided via our Forty 4-4-0s Club, which was set up to raise the £40,000 required to pay for the casting of the wheels and their assembly onto axles. The club allows supporters to ‘adopt’ one (or more) of the original 40 ‘County’ 4-4-0s, which were all named after British and Irish counties with which the GWR had connections. To date more than half of the 40 locomotives have been adopted, but the CCT would ideally like to more supporters to come forward and adopt the remaining locos in order to complete the wheelset assembly.
Membership of the Forty 4-4-0s Club is set at £1,000 (payable in one lump sum or in eight payments of £125 by standing order), and comes with a string of incentives including:
• An invitation to the launch of County of Montgomery
• A seat on the locomotive’s first train
• A special certificate acknowledging the ‘County’ being adopted
• A framed and mounted photograph of the ‘County’ being adopted
• A mounted print of No. 3840 by artist Jonathan Clay
• Your name on Roll of Honour
• Life membership of the CCT
For further information on how to join the Forty 4-4-0s Club and a list of the ‘Counties’ still available for adoption, please click on the ‘Adopt a County’ link.
Commenting on the casting, CCT Chairman Gary Boyd-Hope said: “The casting of the first two coupled wheels is a major milestone for the project, as we are now three-quarters of the way to have all the wheels for No. 3840. We already have the bogie wheelsets, and now have the first two drivers, with the second pair to follow soon.
“We are very close to having the funding we need to get the coupled wheelsets assembled, and only need 14 more supporters to adopt the remaining ‘Counties’ in order to meet out target. I would urge anyone who would like to see a GWR 4-4-0 running once again on Britain’s railways to visit our website and support the project in whatever way they can.