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Quainton Guide 1979
6989 Wightwick Hall
The prototype Hall class engine, No. 4900 Saint Martin, was originally built in 1907 as a member of the Saint class designed by Mr G J Churchward. It was rebuilt in 1924 with smaller driving wheels by Mr C B Collett and the consequent increase in tractive effort made them so successful on heavy excursion and fast freight trains that eventually over 250 similar engines were built. Mr F W Hawksworth became Chief Mechanical Engineer of the GWR in 1941 and in 1944 he introduced a modified version with one-piece main frames, a plate frame bogie and a larger superheater. The first of these Modified Halls was 6959 Peatling Hall although it was not named until about 1946.
Wightwick Hall was one of a batch of twenty locomotives built to Lot 366. It was completed in March 1948 at a cost of £9,686 and was allocated to Hereford remaining there until transferred to Gloucester in September 1962. In June 1964 it was withdrawn from service and it was sold to Woodham Bros. a month later. The Wightwick Hall Appeal Fund was set up in 1975 to purchase and restore the engine. The Fund later merged with the QRS Ltd. and 6989 was purchased in January 1977. Although it entered service with a Hawksworth designed tender it ran for much of its working life with a Collett version and one of the latter has been selected for preservation. The tender was moved to Quainton in July 1977 and the engine itself followed in January 1978.
Much preservation work has already been done on the locomotive and tender including sand blasting and the application of much red oxide paint, and although a few parts are still missing, most of the important items have been located or manufactured specially. The livery will eventually be Great Western green.
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 13 December 2017