GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton
Knowle & Dorridge Station: gwrkd120
View of the GWR's founding member of the Star class, No 4000
'North Star' at the head of Paddington to Birmingham Snow Hill two-hour express
near Knowle and Dorridge in September 1926. The prototype four cylinder 'Star'
locomotive was built in May 1906 with experience learned from the 'Saint' class
and the French 'De Glehn' engines. By incorporating the 'De Glehn' cylinder
arrangement with two sets of valve gear into an otherwise standard design,
George Churchward produced a masterpiece which harmonised the best features of
the different engines on trial.
As GWR No 40, she was built in 4-4-2 configuration as
Churchward had not decided which was the best wheel arrangement for the Great
Western. With cylinders of 14¼ x 26 inches and an unusual scissors valve
gear (Walschaert's valve gear was fitted as standard on all other 'Star'
locomotives), she ran unnamed until October 1906 when she became known as
'North Star'. Number 40 was rebuilt in configuration 4-6-0 in November 1909 and
was also given the curved framing that was built on the second batch of
production engines. In December 1912, 'North Star' was renumbered as 4000. One
difference with 'North Star' compared to the rest of the 'Star' class was that
the footplate was built 2½ inches higher and even when this engine was
rebuilt in a 'Castle' class locomotive, the footplate kept this non-standard
height. Courtesy of