The Mighty GWR Castles

My latest completed proofreading project for Pen & Sword Books was the first part of what is planned to be a trilogy tracing the life and times of the Great Western Railway’s ‘Castle’ class of steam locomotive. The book is written by David Maidment, and covers the story of the Castles from the debut of the first example in 1923 to 1959, when replacement diesel locomotives were starting to appear on British Railways’ Western Region. Mr Maidment’s book is a worthy tribute to these fine engines, probably considered by many to be the very best of the Great Western’s 4-6-0 steam locomotive classes. The book includes a technical introduction, numerous logs of their finest runs in passenger service, and the text is backed up by a lavish selection of appropriate photographs.

The ‘Castles’ were consistent performers throughout this, the major part of their working lives. They were equally at home on long, heavy passenger trains to the West of England, as well as the lightweight high-speed expresses, such as the ‘Cheltenham Flyer’ and the ‘Bristolian’. In the 1950s, the class was performing as well as ever, in particular those that were fitted with double chimneys and updated steaming systems, speeds of 100+mph being logged in a number of cases. For a design that was around thirty years old at that time, this was remarkable. A suitable publication bound for the shelves of many railway enthusiasts.


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