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GWR 3700 Class (8778 views - Transportation - Air Water Earth)

The Great Western Railway 3700 Class, or City Class, locomotives were a series of twenty 4-4-0 steam locomotives, designed for hauling express passenger trains.
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GWR 3700 Class

GWR 3700 Class

GWR 3700 Class

3700 Class or City Class
No. 3433, City of Bath
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Designer George Jackson Churchward
Builder GWR Swindon Works
Build date 1902–1909
Total produced 20
 • Whyte 4-4-0
 • UIC 2'B
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Leading dia. 3 ft 2 in (0.965 m)
Driver dia. 6 ft 8 12 in (2.045 m)
Loco weight 55 long tons 6 cwt (123,900 lb or 56.2 t)
Total weight 92 long tons 1 cwt (206,200 lb or 93.5 t)
Fuel type Coal
Cylinders Two, inside
Cylinder size 18 in × 26 in (457 mm × 660 mm)
Loco brake Steam
Train brakes Vacuum
Performance figures
Maximum speed 100 mph (160 km/h)
Tractive effort 17,800 lbf (79.2 kN)
Operators GWR
Class 3700
Power class GWR: A
Number in class 20
Numbers See article
Official name City Class
Axle load class GWR: Blue
Withdrawn October 1927 - May 1931
Disposition One preserved, remainder scrapped

The Great Western Railway 3700 Class, or City Class, locomotives were a series of twenty 4-4-0 steam locomotives, designed for hauling express passenger trains.


In September 1902 a member of the Atbara Class, no. 3405 Mauritius, was reboilered with a tapered domeless boiler and Belpaire firebox. The locomotive was the first GWR 4-4-0 to be fitted with a tapered boiler; the boiler became the prototype for Churchward's Standard No. 4 boiler.[1] In March 1903 the first of the City Class, no. 3433 City of Bath, was completed.[2] It was fitted with the final form of the Standard No.4 boiler, with slightly curved sides and a tapered top to the firebox. Another nine locomotives were completed in May 1903.[2] Between February 1907 and December 1908 nine Atbaras were rebuilt with this boiler and incorporated into the City Class.[3] All members of the class were withdrawn between October 1927 and May 1931.[3][4]


Superheating of the boiler was first applied to no. 3702, Halifax in June 1910. All of the class had been fitted with superheaters by 1912.[5] Boiler feed was originally by clack valves fitted to the underside of the barrel.[6] Top feed was introduced in 1912 and new cast iron chimneys in 1921. The slide valves were replaced by 8 in (20.3 cm) semi-plug piston valves from 1914.[5] All the engines were fitted with steam reversing gear but only a few, including no. 3716 City of London, had the gear replaced by the screw reverse. The Dean suspension bogie was replaced by a bogie developed from the type used on the de Glehn Atlantics.[7]

Accidents and incidents

  • On 8 August 1913, locomotive No. 3710 City of Bath overran signals and was in a rear-end collision with a passenger train at Yeovil Pen Mill station, Somerset. Two people were killed.[8]

City of Truro

The most famous locomotive in the class, 3440 City of Truro (later renumbered 3717), is reputedly the first steam locomotive to travel in excess of 100 mph, on 9 May 1904.[9][notes 1] It was the 2000th locomotive to be built at Swindon, leaving the works in April 1903.[10]


Historically significant because of its famed 1904 run, "City of Truro" was a prime candidate for preservation, whereas the rest of the class were scrapped. It is owned by the National Railway Museum, York. It was last restored to full working order in 2004 and, as of 2009, is frequently loaned for operation on UK main lines and heritage railways.

List of Locomotives

This class were subject to the 1912 renumbering of GWR 4-4-0 locomotives, which saw the Bulldog class gathered together in the series 3300-3455, and other types renumbered out of that series. The City Class took numbers 3700-3719, previously used by Bulldog locomotives.[11]

Numbers Name
First Second (1912) First Second
3400 3700 Durban
3401 3701 Gibraltar
3402 3702 Halifax
3403 3703 Hobart
3404 3704 Lyttelton
3405 3705 Mauritius
3406 3706 Melbourne
3407 3707 Malta
3408 3708 Ophir Killarney
3409 3709 Quebec
3433 3710 City of Bath
3434 3711 City of Birmingham
3435 3712 City of Bristol
3436 3713 City of Chester
3437 3714 City of Gloucester
3438 3715 City of Hereford
3439 3716 City of London
3440 3717 City of Truro
3441 3718 City of Winchester
3442 3719 City of Worcester City of Exeter


Bachmann Branchline manufacture a model of City of Truro in OO gauge for sale through the National Railway Museum. In December 2014 Bachmann Branchline launched a commemorative World War I Ambulance Train pack. The train pack contains a model of 3711 City of Birmingham in World War I khaki livery, three Midland coaches in crimson lake and six World War I figures.

In the early 1960s there was a Kitmaster OO scale (1:76) plastic construction kit to build a model of 3440 City of Truro.

  1. ^ A US record was twice claimed, although not officially timed, for the inaugural run of the Empire State Express in 1893. A speed of 102 mph, then 112 on the next day, timed as 35 and 32 seconds across a mile, was claimed.
  1. ^ Nock 1977, p. 58
  2. ^ a b Nock 1977, p. 59
  3. ^ a b Nock 1978, p. 89
  4. ^ Casserley 1966, p. 50
  5. ^ a b Nock 1978, p. 35
  6. ^ Nock 1978, p. 37
  7. ^ Nock 1977, p. 81
  8. ^ Hoole, Ken (1983). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 4. Truro: Atlantic Books. p. 17. ISBN 0-906899-07-9. 
  9. ^ Nock 1978, p. 73
  10. ^ Fox 1993, p. 9
  11. ^ Nock 1978, p. 39
  • Casserley, H.C. (1966). Locomotives at the Grouping - No. 4 - Great Western Railway. Ian Allan Limited. 
  • Fox, Peter (1993). Preserved Locomotives of British Railways. Platform 5 Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-872524-54-0. 
  • Nock, O.S. (1977). Standard Gauge Great Western 4-4-0s Part 1 Inside Cylinder Classes 1894-1910. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-7411-7. 
  • Nock, O.S. (1978). Standard Gauge Great Western 4-4-0s Part 2 Counties to the Close 1904-1961. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-7684-5. 

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