New Churchward County – now a reality!

THE project to create a new GWR County 4-4-0 – potentially to be based at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway – can now claim to have a ‘real’ locomotive.

The Churchward County Trust’s No. 3840 County of Montgomery officially came into being on November 13 – after the main frame plates were cut by TATA Steel of Wednesfield.

The 22ft-long frames, cut to Swindon drawing No. 43495, are made from specially-rolled 1¼in plate supplied by Liberty Steel of Motherwell.

Ian Challis of TATA Steel (left) and David Bradshaw (right) with workshop staff and the first plate. CCT

Plasma cutting started at 2pm, with trust directors David Bradshaw and Gary Boyd-Hope proudly looking on. Both plates were cut from the same sheet, and the whole process took just 40 minutes to complete. Once the cutting had finished, the newly-cut frames were lifted from the machine bed and left to cool.

Project leader Gary said: “Seeing the frames for No. 3840 take shape beneath the plasma cutters was quite extraordinary. It took the County off the drawing board and brought it into existence as something tangible.

“Although we already have a number of components for County of Montgomery courtesy of the Great Western Society, these have all come from other donor locomotives of various identities. These frames, however, are unique to No. 3840, so it’s fair to say that the County 4-4-0 now exists.”

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