4900 4-6-0 GWR Collett Hall 4900 – 4999 & 6900 – 6958



Power Classification 5MT
Introduced 1907 rebuilt 1924, 1928-1943
Designer Collett
Company GWR
Weight – Loco 75t 0cwt
               Tender 46t 14cwt
Driving Wheels 6ft 0ins
Boiler Pressure 225psi superheated
Cylinders Outside – 18.5in x 30in
Tractive Effort 27,275
Valve Gear Stephenson (piston valve)


As a result of the 4300 class locomotives being so versatile they were sometimes employed on duties for which they were not suitable. One such job was the new fast express goods train from Southall which was guaranteed to be in Scotland 14 hours after departing from Southall. The GWR were responsible for taking the train as far as Wolverhampton where the LMS took over. The train would leave Southall with vans loaded with margarine before picking up consignments of Lyons tea at Greenford after which the 4300 class was required to haul 50 covered vans non-stop to Oxley sidings just north of Wolverhampton. It was initially thought that the issue was poor steaming but after investigation it was found that the real problem was that the locomotive was under powered to run non-stop with a full load to a tight timetable.

The running department rostered older Saint and Star class engines to this task but this was only an interim measure as a new design of locomotive was required for handling express freight duties. As a result in 1924 one of the Saint class locomotives (2925 Saint Martin, built in 1907) was rebuilt with six feet driving wheels. The objective was to meet the need for a mixed traffic locomotive with higher boiler power and a higher speed than the 4300 class and became the prototype of the Hall class. It was also fitted with a side window cab, but no other major changes were made (until fitted with outside steam pipes in December 1948). It was later renumbered 4900.


 4300 4300 class
 Saint 2900 Saint class before rebuild
 4900 4900 Hall class


After three years of satisfactory trials with 4900  Collett placed an order with Swindon works and the first of the new two-cylinder Halls entered service in 1928. It is likely that the pressure to develop a more powerful express locomotive took priority so that the King class 4-6-0 was introduced a year before in 1927.

 6000 King class introduced by Collett in 1927

The 1928 built Halls differed little from the prototype; the bogie wheel diameter had been reduced by two inches from 3ft 2in to 3ft 0in and the valve setting amended to give an increased travel of 7.5 in. The overall weight of the locomotive had increased by 2 tons 10 cwt to 75 long tons 0 cwt but a tractive effort of 27,275lbf compared favourably with the 24,935lbf of the Saint class.

In what amounted to a trial run the first 14 were despatched to the arduous proving grounds of the Cornish main line. However, they were so successful here and elsewhere on the GWR system that by the time the first production batch of 80 had been completed in 1930 a further 178 were on order. By 1935, 150 were in service and the 259th and last Hall, No. 6958 Oxburgh Hall, was delivered in 1943.

In 1944 Hawksworth introduced a modified version of the class which became known as the 6959 class.


 4900 4900 class – Hall
 Modified Hall 6959 class – Modified hall

4983 Albert Hall was rescued from Barry scrapyard for preservation, but when it was being restored it turned out to be the engine 4965 Rood Ashton Hall. The two engines probably swapped identities in 1962 when 4965 was authorised for withdrawal, but 4983 was found to be in poor condition and was withdrawn instead. 4965 was returned to service carrying 4983’s name and number plates rather than create the additional paperwork of reinstating one engine and withdrawing another. This raises the question as to whether similar swapping of identities took place on any other engine without being recorded.

Between 1946 and 1950 some of the class were converted to oil burning (as a result of the 1946 coal crisis). They were renumbered in the 3900 series but were later re-converted and reverted to their original numbers.

Apart from 4911 Bowden Hall, which was badly damaged in 1941 in a bombing raid, all of the class survived to become British Railway locomotives. The last of the Hall and Modified Hall class locomotives were withdrawn in December 1965. Amongst the last to be withdrawn was 4920 Dumbleton Hall which was built in 1929 and is now preserved. The last 50 were withdrawn in 1965 from the depots listed below. The prototype was withdrawn from service in April 1959 having covered over two million miles during its working life as 2925 and 4900.

Banbury                12
Bristol Barrow Road                  7
Cardiff East Dock                  2
Didcot                  1
Ebbw Junction                  2
Gloucester                  2
Oxford                15
Severn Tunnel Junction                  3
Tyseley                  5
Worcester                  1

Accident and Incidents

  • On 30 April 1941, Locomotive 4911Bowden Hall took a direct hit during a bombing raid on the Keyham area of Plymouth and was later broken up. The locomotive had stopped at a signal box because of an air raid, and the crew survived by sheltering under the steps of the signal box. 4911 was one of two GWR locomotives damaged beyond repair in Britain during World War II. The other was GWR 1854 class 1729.
  • In 1941,, 4936 Kinlet Hall fell into a bomb crater in Plymouth which caused extensive damage to the bogie and main frames. Damage was severe but, such was the shortage of locomotives during the war, subsequent speedy repairs were carried out at Newton Abbot. Damage was so severe that it is remarkable that repairs were effected at all and the locomotive still carried within its frames evidence of the extent of work required.
  • On 13 February 1961, 6949Haberfield Hall was in collision with a freight train that was being shunted at Baschurch, Shropshire due to a signalman’s error. Three people were killed and two were injured.
  • On 25 August 1962, a passenger train stopped atTorquay due to the failure of the locomotive hauling it. 4932 Hatherton Hall was hauling a passenger train that overran signals and was in a rear-end collision with it. Twenty-three people were injured.

Number in Service

End of Year 4900 Hall 6959 Modified Hall


Total Built W-drawn Total
1907 4900          1
1928 4901-5          6
1929 4906-70        71
1930 4971-80        81
1931 4981-99      100
5900-20      121
1933 5921-40      141
1935 5941-57      158
1936 5958-65      166
1937 5966-75      176
1938 5976-85      186
1939 5986-94      195
1940 5995-99
6900-10      211
1941 6911-37      1      237
1942 6938-50      250
1943 6951-58      258
1944      258 6959-70        12
1947      258 6971-80        22
1948      258 6981-95        37
1949      258 6996-99
7900-6        48
1950      258 7907-29        71
1951-58      258        71
1959         2      256        71
1960         2      254        71
1961         8      246        71
1962       73      173        71
1963       67      106       6        65
1964       56        50     22        43
1965       50          0     43          0



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