4942 was completed at Swindon in 1929 and spent most of its life in Wales and the West Country with a final move to Didcot in 1962. It was withdrawn in 1963 having completed over 1,300, 000 miles, and sent for scrap to Woodham Brothers in 1964 from where it was bought ten years later by Great Western Society with the specific intention of using it as the basis for a new ‘Saint’.
In the Saint Project the GWS is reversing the rebuild of a Saint 2900 class as a prototype for the Hall class using many parts from the ‘Hall’, a class that is already well represented in preservation.
In the late 1970s the Great Western Society’s first attempt to launch a ‘Saint’ Project envisaged a rebuilt ‘Saint’ with curved drop ends at the front of the frames and beneath the cab, in the style introduced from number 2911 onwards. Whilst undeniably elegant, GWR 4-6-0s with curved framing proliferate in the preservation world. Also, the first ‘Saint’ Project did not succeed as it was thought by many at the time to be beyond the capability of preservationists.
However, restoration of ‘King’ class No. 6023 King Edward II, which among other things involved construction of a new driving wheel set, proved that the Great Western Society could successfully undertake major reconstruction and refurbishment projects, and the Saint Project we have today was born. A thorough review following the first abortive project led to the decision to revert to the original ‘Saint’ design featuring an inside steam pipe cylinder block, straight frames and square drop ends at the front in the style of the early ‘Lady’ and ‘Scott’ locomotives.
By 1965 the last Hall had been withdrawn from the Western Region without a single one entering the National Collection. Eleven examples of the Hall class have survived to preservation and 4942 Maindy Hall is being back-converted into a GWR Saint 2900 class locomotive at Didcot Railway Centre.
It is now the newest member of the class, 2999 Lady of Legend. As of late 2009, most of the conversion work has been completed and work has started on restoring the boiler. Meanwhile a dedicated group of volunteers is continuing the refurbishment of the components rescued from Maindy Hall and it should be in steam in the not too distant future.
Not only is this period of design historically significant and has not previously been represented in the Great Western collection at Didcot, but it also creates the opportunity to convert the new ‘Saint’ to a Churchward 4-4-2 ‘Atlantic’ from time to time (all the Atlantics used the straight frame design).
The locomotive will also feature the original lever reversing gear and will carry top feed, as applied progressively to the class from1911.
Final paint finish will be the handsome, fully lined Edwardian livery with ‘garter’ arms and full brass embellishments as carried up to the outbreak of the Great War. The locomotive is being rebuilt to the standards required for main line running and will also work on suitable preserved railways.
The Saint Project has been magnificently supported. Major new components that have been manufactured include three new driving wheel sets, two bogie wheel sets, two identical ‘half’ cylinder blocks and the lever reverse. The frames from 4942 have been modified and strengthened to suit the ‘Saint’ design and many other components, including the boiler, are being refurbished.
|Home Base||Current Status||Owner|
|Converted to a Saint class locomotive 2999 Lady of Legend||JJP Holdings (South West) Ltd.|
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