Scouring through model railway magazines and attending local exhibitions, I began to acquire a few loco kits to fit Grafar chassis and also resorted to kit bashing to make other classes of locos. For example a Grafar 'Castle' could be converted to a 'Star' and the 'Hall' to a 'Saint', albeit not accurate but very passable in such a small scale. Above all I wanted a King and 'The Great Bear'. As no kit or proprietary model was available with the correct size boiler and fire box to modify, I tried my hand at scratch building starting with 'The Great Bear'.


This white elephant, Britain's first Pacific designed by Churchward in 1908 was the largest locomotive to run on British Metals until 20 years later when Gresley produced his first Pacific. It was essentially a 'Star' with a greatly increased boiler and could only run on the Paddington to Bristol main line due to its weight. The fact that the motion was a 'Star' I could build it on a Grafar Castle chassis. Constructed of brass tube and strip and the odd bit of plasticard it was not as difficult as I first thought. Regretfully I did not photograph any stages of its construction but made amends for that when I started on 6000 'King George V'. The most taxing thing here was the design of the bogey. The prototype bogey had had outside frames on the leading wheels and inside frames on the trailing wheels to clear the outside cylinders. For the model to look like a 'King' it had to be the same, similar to 'The Great Bear' the running plate had to fit on a Grafar 'Castle' chassis. It also had to have the bell on the buffer beam commemorating its trip to America in 1927 with William Stannier at the Centenary of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

Locomotive Stock

Graham Farish 4-6-0 Winchester Castle 5042 Re-numbered 5069 Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Graham Farish 4-6-0 Winchester Castle 5042 Modified to 4000 North Star
Graham Farish 4-6-0 Raveningham Hall 6960 Renumbered 4996 Eden Hall
Graham Farish 4-6-0 Raveningham Hall 6960 Modified to 2924 Saint Helena
Graham Farish 4-6-0 Castle Chassis Scratch built 111 The Great Bear 4-6-2
Graham Farish 4-6-0 Castle Chassis Scratch built 6000 King George V 4-6-0
Graham Farish 4-6-2 6104  
Graham Farish 0-6-0 5788 Chassis White Metal Kit 0-6-0 2251
Graham Farish 4-4-0 4P Chassis White Metal Kit 4-4-2 County Tank 2235
Graham Farish 2-8-0 8F Chassis Modified - Gem White Metal Kit 2800 Class No. 2840 2-8-0
Graham Farish 0-6-2 5788 Chassis Modified - White Metal Kit 5600 Class No. 5607 0-6-2
Graham Farish 0-6-0 5788  
  2-6-0 2600 Scratch Built Outside Crank Aberdare No. 2632
Langley Miniature Models 1400 Class No. 1437 White Metal & Etched Brass Auto Trailer Car powered by Graham Farish HST chassis in trailer car.
Langley Miniature Models Steam Rail Motor Much modified power chassis of unknown make.

When I first started this project in 1990 I was ambitious to have one locomotive of each class between the years 1920 to 1948 pre-nationalisation running on the Great Western
Railway with the addition a relic of the Victorian era, A Dean Steam Rail Motor. This ungainly looking machine when ambling along at a slow pace and stopping at every station,
 halt and lamp post has an appeal which I can not explain other than to say that a century ago the pace of travel was more sedate than to days quest for speed.
The fact that there were 33 classes of loco's running all over the system soon brought home the feasibility of my ambition as a non starter.

My layout was far to small to run, let alone house such a large number. To my knowledge all of the manufactures of N gauge GWR steam outline ready to run engines only amounted
to about eight. There are of course manufactures who produce cast white metal body kits which run on proprietary chassis which are a great help but still a long way short of 33.
Because of G.J.Churchward's far sightedness of standardising all of the components of his locomotives, which no other railway did, not only did he save the the company a lot of
money in tooling costs he could design and build locomotives of any required tractive effort to suit the traffic needs simply by using different combinations of boiler size, piston
diameter and length and wheel sizes. Even so, at a board meeting he was once asked by the Chairman of the board, Sir Felix Pole Why his engines cost nearly twice as much to
build as other railways --- he replied " because one of my locomotives can pul two of their 'bloody' things backwards".

The only CME to make a non standard part was Collett who succeeded Churchward and that was because the Southern Railway brought out their 'Lord Nelson' class which they
claimed to be the most powerful 4-6-0 in the world which hither to had been Collett's 'Castle Class'. The GWR board wanted the tile back and instructed Collett to build a more
powerful 4-6-0. The outcome was the 'King Class' but he could only do it by reducing the driving wheels standard 6ft -81/2 to 6ft 6ft 6in diameter to achieve the 40,300 tractive
effort to far exceed the 'Lord Nelsons' They remained the most powerful 4-6-0 until the demise of steam His foresight enabled GWR N gauge enthusiasts to resort to 'kit bashing'
and modifying RTR models into different classes and scratch build models to run on proprietary chassis. To date my locomotive stock stands at 21. Five of which have been chipped
 for DCC running, the remainder will be in the fullness of time and money.

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