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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 100 - October 2008
GWR 72XX Class 2-8-2T No. 7200
GWR 2-8-2 T Class Locomotives - John Porter 7200 Trust
The GWR's eight-coupled tank engines were in many ways a unique concept. Their final development was perhaps, in some ways, the most interesting of all, namely the rebuilding of 52xx class locos as 2-8-2T's for longer distance heavy goods workings, principally to displace the Aberdare 2-6-0s.
This was done by lengthening the framing, adding a trailing axle and enlarging the coal bunker and water tanks. The other dimensions remained the same. As a consequence, the weight increased to 92.5 tons. But the tractive effort was unchanged at 33,170lbs. They were allocated the red category. The increased coal and water capacity gave then a longer operational range and in their early years, up to the middle of World War II, they were regularly used on main line coal trains from South Wales to London and the South West.
Thereafter, they were restricted to South Wales steel industry workings, apart from a couple of locos that were allocated to Oxford. The main work of the 72s was undoubtedly along the South Wales main line. Indeed, anyone travelling in the Newport area fifty or so years ago would have seen them on heavy coal or steel trains. I have often wondered why, in view of the obvious success of these locos, that no other company took up the design. One possible explanation is that there were few areas with the unique traffic patterns of South Wales. The Great Western eight-coupled designs can be summed up as surefooted, rugged and reliable and although seldom in the limelight, all in all must have been a sound investment.
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 02 December 2017