Model Rail (UK) - - The Big Four at 70 -

The Great West­ern had swept away traces of Vic­to­rian-es­que grandeur in the 1930s by re­plac­ing its Egyp­tianstyle let­ter­ing and Lon­don and Bris­tol coat of arms with a mod­ern roundel, con­tain­ing the ini­tials GWR, that was quickly dubbed the ‘shirt­but­ton’. It was a bold move and looked very stylish, even though it was a lit­tle lost on the sides of lo­co­mo­tives. It’s al­most as though the trauma of war had forced GWR man­age­ment to seek refuge in the com­fort of the past. ‘Kings’ and ‘Cas­tles’ re­tained their green paint but gained a large ‘G’ and ‘W’ in the Egyp­tian style serif ei­ther side of the twin coat of arms (al­though there was no lin­ing). All other lo­co­mo­tives were black with the ini­tials GWR on their tank and ten­der sides, again in ‘Egyp­tian’. This scheme was per­pet­u­ated af­ter the war, but with some key dif­fer­ences: lin­ing re­turned to the ‘Kings’ and ‘Cas­tles’ (plus the ‘County’ 4‑6‑0s) and the ‘G crest W’ ar­range­ment was ap­plied to all pas­sen­ger and mixed traf­fic classes. Tank and freight lo­co­mo­tives re­ceived un­lined green with GWR serif ini­tials. Rather bizarrely, how­ever, sans serif GWR let­ter­ing ap­peared on mainly South Wales tank lo­co­mo­tives. This is be­lieved to be due to a lack of serif trans­fers, so painters ap­plied the sim­pler style by hand.

Be­low: No. 5080 De­fi­ant stands out­side Ty­se­ley shed on May 31 1992. The ‘Cas­tle’ is only one of a few lo­co­mo­tives to have worn post-war GWR liv­ery in preser­va­tion; oth­ers in­clude class­mate No. 5051, plus ‘Halls’ Nos. 4920, 6960 and 6998. MARK BUR­ROWS

Left: In full GWR post-war liv­ery, ‘Cas­tle’ No. 5054 Earl of Du­cie passes Sev­ern Tun­nel Junc­tion with an Up ex­press in May 1947. H.N. JAMES/COLOUR RAIL

Above: A rear three-quar­ter view of ‘43XX’ No. 9303 at Read­ing in 1947. The lo­co­mo­tive, now pre­served at the Sev­ern Val­ley Rail­way, car­ries un­lined green and ini­tials - the stan­dard liv­ery for sec­ondary ten­der and tank lo­co­mo­tives. H.N. JAMES/COLOUR RAIL

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