Limited Edition Railway Prints of Dawlish
Limited Edition Fine Art Railway Prints
GWR Star Class No. 4039 Queen Matilda
The Stars were designed by the Great Western’s Chief Mechanical Engineer - George Jackson Churchward, and were built to haul heavy express passenger trains (often up to 500 tons) over long distances, primarily on the West of England services in the early days, including the GWR’s prestigious Cornish Riviera Express. The Stars featured many innovative features, not least four cylinders (two outside and two inside) and were forerunners of the famous Castle and King classes. Queen Matilda was fitted with an experimental damper for the superheater arrangement within the smokebox, opearted by a small piston on the outside. The locomotive was also constructed with a flush riveted smokebox which added to the locomotive's graceful looks.
On 1st November 1911, Queen Matilda was chosen for Dynometer Car testing on a 400 ton train between Paddington and Bristol where the percentage cut-offs against the regulator openings were recorded. For a period of time at around 1912, “Queen Matilda” was allocated to Neath shed (Court Sart Junction) to run the Swansea to Paddington express trains. During the early days, the locomotive was handed over to the Driver who had total day to day responsibility for the engine, on the basis that it would be looked after more carefully. At this time, David Hancocke from Neath was the allocated driver, the father of Herbert Brooks Hancocke, who became Chairman of Dawlish Town Council in the 1950's.
Although Queen Matilda was scrapped in 1950 after almost 40 years service, it was decided to have the locomotive depicted in its original condition, leaving Bridgnorth on the Severn Valley Railway on the evening Diner, as if the locomotive was preserved and still around today. There is no coincidence that there is a slight “ghostly” atmosphere as the locomotive blasts its way out of the station into the night air!
NB There is just one survivor of the Star class - No. 4003 Lode Star, currently preserved by the National Railway Museum at York. A part of No. 4039 Queen Matilda remains today on locomotive No. 6000 King George V preserved at Swindon Museum. Look for the parts stamped “4039” on the knuckle joints connecting the rocker arm to the valve spindle by the outside cylinders!