TS19: The Pannier Project
Photograph copyright: Ben Brooksbank.
Continuing their Great Western reign, Victory Works will soon bring us their steam locomotive pack, featuring the unique yet plentiful GWR Pannier Tanks.
Throughout the steam era, countless designs emerged for all sorts of locomotives, and advances in technology would often be the catalyst for change. Popular for industrial use was the “Saddletank” locomotive, where the water tank sat above and wrapped around the boiler in a curved fashion. This allowed for greater capacity and slightly pre-heated the water ready for injection.
However, in the 1920s, many British railway companies decided to adopt the Belpaire firebox, which originated in Belgium in 1864, as it offered great benefits over other already-in-use designs. J.G. Churchward of the GWR modified the design before rebuilding several industrial locomotives, but there was a snag, the new firebox featured a squarer shape, meaning the saddle water tank would no longer comfortably fit.
To work around this, a new type of water tank was designed, one that saw water stored either side of the boiler in panniers. The designed proved successful, and almost all of GWR’s saddletank locomotives were rebuilt into pannier tanks.
However, that was only the beginning, new-build locomotives would start rolling off of the production line in such a fashion, and this trend would soar once C. Collett succeeded Churchward as Chief Mechanical Engineer.
Locomotives such as the 5400, 6400 and 7400 Classes started to emerge in the early 1930s, but they were unrivalled by one in particular, the 5700 Class, which started production in 1929. The 5700 Class would be put to work on a whole manner of light freight and passenger working across the GWR, and later the wider British railway network. Their versatility saw such widespread use, that across all variants, a total of 863 would be built.
It is in their numbers that the Panniers became a familiar sight to many enthusiasts, they were the most prolific class in the entire GWR fleet and could be spotted practically anywhere. The Panniers were no King Class, you wouldn’t find them on the long-haul expresses, but some saw so much local work that they clocked in between 400,000 and 500,000 miles in their lifetime.
The 5700 Class was popular enough to be preserved with ease, a total of 16 locomotives survived the cutters torch and they are in varying conditions, 6 are currently operational.
Through the fine efforts of Victory Works, these Pannier Tanks are to come to life within Train Simulator; the 5400, 6400, 5700 and 7400 Classes (plus the 6700 and 8750 variants of the 5700) will all be represented in stunning detail, meaning you will be able to drive almost all of the 850+ locomotives as you desire.
It’s been a little over 4 years since Victory Works released their GWR 14XX Class, which is accompanied by a Diagram A31 autocoach, and ever since then you have been asking them for more. With the GWR Panniers they are set to deliver, as the pack will come with the BR-built Hawksworth A38, A39, A40 and A43 autocoaches for varied steam-era push-pull operations. Both the 5400 and 6400 Classes were built with autotrain operation in mind, whereas the larger locomotives would take on standard passenger and freight duties.
Keep an eye out for more on Victory Works’ Pannier Tanks!
TS19: The Pannier Project