50 YEARS ON: THE FOWLER 4F

The Fowler 4F 0-6-0 was a very basic but useful design of steam engine. J Crosse recounts the history of a surprisingly long-lived class.

50 YEARS ON: THE FOWLER 4F
More than 40 years in preservation appears not to have done No. 43924 any harm as it brews up for some shunting work at Oakworth on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway in 2011. It was the first engine to leave Barry scrapyard and even the most optimistic of enthusiasts of the time could not have envisaged that so many engines would survive and steam again. COLOUR-RAIL 115023
This October marks the 50th anniversary of the withdrawal of the last of a long line of Henry Fowler-designed 4F 0-6-0s – a type which now dates back 105 years since Midland Railway No. 3835 rolled off the production line at Derby.

Manufacture spanned no less than 30 years with No. 44606 not coming into service until 1941, bringing the class to a total of some 772 basically similar machines, although, as in most classes, there were some minor changes in design. No. 44606 came close to being one of the newest 0-6-0 tender engines in the country with only the 40 Southern Q1s and a similar number of the GWR 2251 class
(Nos. 2231-50 and 3200-3219) having later build dates.

Read more in the latest edition of HR

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