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The Great Western Railway (GWR) 4575 Class is a class of 2-6-2T steam locomotives.

GWR 4575 class
5521 Didcot (2).jpg
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
DesignerCharles Collett
BuilderGWR Swindon Works
Order numberLots 242, 249, 251, 253
Build date1927–1929
Total produced100
 • Whyte2-6-2T
 • UIC1'C1' ht
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Leading dia.3 ft 2 in (0.965 m)
Driver dia.4 ft 7 12 in (1.410 m)
Trailing dia.3 ft 2 in (0.965 m)
Minimum curve5 chains (330 ft; 100 m) normal,
4.5 chains (300 ft; 91 m) slow
Wheelbase26 ft 10 in (8.18 m)
Length36 ft 4 12 in (11.09 m) over buffers
Width8 ft 9 in (2.667 m)
Height13 ft 0 in (3.962 m)
Axle load15 long tons 11 cwt (34,800 lb or 15.8 t)
(17.4 short tons) full
Adhesive weight46 long tons 5 cwt (103,600 lb or 47 t)
(51.8 short tons) full
Loco weight61 long tons 0 cwt (136,600 lb or 62 t)
(68.3 short tons) full
Fuel typeCoal
Water cap1,300 imp gal (5,900 l; 1,600 US gal)
 • Firegrate area
16.6 sq ft (1.54 m2)
Boiler pressure200 lbf/in2 (1.38 MPa)
Heating surface:
 • Tubes
992.51 sq ft (92.207 m2)
 • Firebox94.25 sq ft (8.756 m2)
 • Type4-element or 6-element
 • Heating area4-element: 52.98 sq ft (4.922 m2),
6-element: 69.84 sq ft (6.488 m2)
CylindersTwo, outside
Cylinder size17 in × 24 in (432 mm × 610 mm)
Valve gearStephenson
Valve typepiston valves
Train brakesVacuum
Performance figures
Tractive effort21,250 lbf (94.5 kN)
OperatorsGWR » BR
Power classGWR: C,
Number in class100
Numbers4575–4599, 5500–5574
NicknamesSmall Prairie
Axle load classGWR: Yellow
Preserved4588, 5521, 5526, 5532, 5538, 5539, 5541, 5542, 5552, 5553, 5572
Disposition11 preserved, remainder scrapped



They were designed as small mixed traffic branch locomotives, mainly used on branch lines. They were a development of Churchward's 4500 Class with larger side tanks and increased water capacity.[1] 100 were built numbered 4575–4599 and 5500–5574. A number were fitted with auto apparatus in 1953 to enable them to run push-pull trains on South Wales lines with auto trailers.[1]

They often are referred to as Small Prairie Class tank locomotives.


11 of these engines survive:

Number and name Home Status Image
4588 Peak Rail Has run in preservation, but currently out of service requiring overhaul. It was sold from the Dartmouth Steam Railway in 2015 and is now owned by Mike Thompson and based at Peak Rail. [2]  
5521/L.150 Avon Valley Railway [3] Built 1927, withdrawn by BR and sent to Woodham Brothers, having run just over one million miles (1,600,000 km). Saved with sisters 4561 and 5542 by the West Somerset Railway Association, but it and 5542 were sold to repay purchase debts/fund restoration of 4561. Bought by Richard and William Parker in 1980, it was restored at the Flour Mill, Forest of Dean from 2004 to 2007. Featured in the 2007 Wolsztyn Parade, then travelled to Budapest, Hungary where it worked intermittently with MAV Nosztalgia, including piloting the Orient-Express. Returned to Poland in 2008, operating suburban services from Wroclaw to Jelcz Laskowice. After third appearance at 2009 Wolsztyn Parade, returned to England. In May 2013 painted in London Transport livery and numbered L.150, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Metropolitan line. On loan to the Bluebell Railway until summer 2014, then moved to Avon Valley Railway.[4]  
5526 South Devon Railway On loan to the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway until January 2019. [5]  
5532 Llangollen Railway Under restoration. [6]
5538 The Flour Mill, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire Under restoration. Previously displayed in Barry Island. [7]  
5539 Barry Tourist Railway Under restoration. Previously part of the Barry Ten until 2006. [8]
5541 Dean Forest Railway Currently operational. Boiler ticket expires in 2024. [9]  
5542 South Devon Railway Currently operational. This locomotive has visited several preserved railways throughout her preservation career. Boiler ticket expires in 2022.[10]  
5552 Bodmin and Wenford Railway Has run in preservation and is currently under overhaul.[11]  
5553 Peak Rail Owned by Pete Waterman. Last steam engine to leave Woodham Brothers scrapyard in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales, in January 1990. Moved in 2015 from Crewe Heritage Centre for overhaul.  
5572 Didcot Railway Centre On static display awaiting overhaul. [12]  

In fictionEdit

One of these locomotives with the GWR Shirtbutton logo was featured in the train chase sequence from the 1978 Disney film Candleshoe.

Models and ToysEdit

Lima made a model of the 4575 class, number 4589, in GWR green, also a British Railways black-liveried version, running number 5574. Bachmann Branchline have for many years made various versions of the 4575 Class.

See alsoEdit


  • Whitehurst, Brian (1973). Great Western Engines, Names, Numbers, Types and Classes (1940 to Preservation). Oxford, UK: Oxford Publishing Company. pp. 40–41, 50, 102, 137. ISBN 978-0-9028-8821-0. OCLC 815661.

External linksEdit