Hornby R3166 Knight of the Grand Cross Star Class DCC Ready
Class: "Star" Class 4-6-0
Purpose: Express Passenger & Mixed Traffic
Livery: GWR lined green - ("Shirt button" logo)
Period: The 1930s
Loco number/name: 4018 "Knight of the Grand Cross"
Digital: DCC Ready to have Digital decoder chip fitted
Scale / Gauge: OO Gauge / 1:76 Scale
The GWR Class 4000
The Great Western Railway 4000 or Star were a class of 4-cylinder 4-6-0 passenger steam locomotives designed by George Jackson Churchward for the Great Western Railway (GWR) in 1906 and introduced in early 1907. The prototype was built as a 4-4-2 Atlantic (but converted to 4-6-0 during 1909). They proved to be a successful design that handled the heaviest long-distance express trains, reaching top speeds of 90 mph (145 km/h), and established the design principles for GWR 4-cylinder classes over the next twenty-five years.
After finally converting the last broad gauge lines in 1892, the GWR began a period of modernisation as new cut-off lines shortened its routes to the west of England, South Wales, and Birmingham. During the first decade of the twentieth century, the new Chief Mechanical Engineer, George Jackson Churchward designed or acquired a number of experimental locomotives with different wheel arrangements and boiler designs to help him plan for the future motive power needs of the railway. Following the success of the prototypes of his two-cylinder Saint class 4-6-0 locomotives, introduced in 1902, Churchward became interested in developing a more powerful 4-cylinder type for the longer non-stop express services. He, therefore, persuaded the GWR to acquire three French 4-cylinder 4-4-2 compound locomotives, 102 La France (1904) and 103 President and 104 Alliance (both 1905) for comparison purposes.
In addition to acquiring the French compound locomotives, Churchward built and tested his own prototype 4-cylinder locomotive simple-expansion locomotive, No. 40 North Star in 1906. As with some early members of the Saint class it was built as a 4-4-2 but designed so that it could easily be converted to a 4-6-0. It was completed at the Swindon Works of the GWR (Lot 161) in April 1906. It was numbered 40 and later that year was named 'North Star'. In November 1909 it was converted to 4-6-0. The new design incorporated many ideas from the French locomotives, in particular, the four-cylinder layout, with the inside cylinders placed forward under the smokebox and the outside cylinders placed far back, in line with the rear wheels of the bogie; from this followed the divided drive with the outside cylinders connected to the second set of driving wheels whilst the inside cylinders were connected to the front set of driving wheels. The valve gear was an unusual design, called scissors gear, which eschewed the use of eccentrics, but was basically a variation on Walschaerts gear. The prototype locomotive was rebuilt as a member of the Castle Class in November 1929.