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Published 8th March 2012
DIDCOT - The Great Western Society’s new-build Churchward Class 4700 2-8-0 No. 4709 is about to commence becoming reality.
This follows an order being placed for the main frame plates, which are expected to be cut very soon. This order followed receipt of over £50,000 in pledges towards the ‘4709 Project’.
Construction of the new-build, however, spells the end for GWR Class 5101 2-6-2T No. 4115. This one-time ‘Barry 10’ survivor is the principal parts donor for the new loco and having been completely dismantled at Llangollen has effectively ceased to exist as a Prairie.
Principal elements from No. 4115 to be used to build No. 4709 include the front end extension frames and cylinder sub-assembly, the 5ft 8in driving wheels (patterns need to be made for casting the fourth wheel set), frame stays, footplate supports, brake hangers, vacuum brake cylinder and reservoir, weighshaft and bearings. The donated parts will cut costs for the new-build while enabling rapid assembly of the 2-8-0 frames.
Two other ex-‘Barry 10’ locos will also contribute parts towards construction of the 2-8-0. These include axles, axle boxes and horn guides from No. 5227 and the cylinder block from No. 2861.
A rolling chassis and tender (restoration of a 4,000 gallon tender has commenced at Didcot) for No. 4709 is expected to cost around £200,000. Donations can be sent to Great Western Society, Didcot Railway Centre, Didcot, Oxfordshire OX11 7NJ while offers to help at Didcot or Llangollen can be made to Paul Carpenter at email@example.com .
The boiler from No. 4115 is destined for a new-build GWR 2221 class ‘County Tank’ 4-4-2T.
The GWS is easy to get to by train as the entrance is part of National Rail’s station at Didcot.