North Star 2-2-2 GWR (Broad Gauge)

North Star in the Museum of the Great Western railway - October 2014.jpg
Power ClassificationUnclassified
Introduced1838 – 1841
DesignerRobert Stephenson
Driving Wheels7ft 0ins
Boiler Pressure
Cylinders16 in x 16in
Tractive Effort
Valve Gear

The Great Western Railway (GWR) Star Class of 2-2-2 broad gauge steam locomotive were used for passenger train work. Designed by Robert Stephenson, the class was introduced into service between November 1838 and November 1841, and withdrawn between April 1864 and September 1871.

North Star was the first GWR locomotive, although originally built for the 5ft 6in gauge New Orleans Railway. North Star arrived at Maidenhead Bridge by barge on 28 November 1837; on 31 May 1838 it worked the inaugural train for the company’s directors. In 1854 it was rebuilt with 16in × 18in cylinders and the wheelbase lengthened by a foot. It was withdrawn in 1871 but kept at Swindon, along with Lord of the Isles, until 1906 when it was cut up.

A total of twelve Star Class locomotives were manufactured. Notably, they were given the romantic or colloquial (rather than scientific) names of astronomical bodies. By the time the last had been delivered, GWR engineer Daniel Gooch had designed and taken delivery of several of his larger Firefly class.

A non-working replica, incorporating some parts of the original, was created in 1925, designed to resemble the original 1837 engine and bearing little resemblance to the engine as cut up in 1906.

After participating in the Stockton & Darlington Railway Centenary celebrations in 1925, North Star was later sent in 1927 to the USA, accompanying the then brand new GWR 4-6-0 6000 King George V, to feature in the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad centenary celebrations.

For many years it occupied an elevated position in the Erecting Shop (A Shop) at Swindon Works. It is now housed at Museum of the Great Western Railway, Swindon Swindon which is also known as the Steam, Museum of the GWR.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
Museum of the Great Western Railway, SwindonOn static displayNational Railway Museum

NRM Object Number{1978-7011}

North Star next to 68633 in the National Railway Museum at York – 2005
North Star in the Museum of the Great Western railway - October 2014.jpg
North Star in the Museum of the Great Western Railway – October 2014
North Star replica in the Steam Museum at Swindon – July 2016

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