GWR Saint class

The first of the Saint Class or 29XX locomotives appeared around 1910, designed by George Jackson Churchward at Swindon

A total of 76 of this class were built and displayed many excellent features in their design. The class having a large influence on the design of all subsequent successful locomotive classes built for British railways until the end of steam operations in the 1960s.

The first withdrawals of Saint Class locomotives began in 1931 and continued until 1953, No 2920 `Saint David’ being the last survivor. However by the early 1920s a great potential existed for a large mixed traffic locomotive which could work any type of train from an express passenger to a slow goods. Mr. Churchward had retired in 1921 but his successor, Charles Collett, decided to rebuild a Saint Class locomotive No 2925 `Saint Martin’ with smaller 6’0″ diameter driving wheels and a more enclosed cab in 1924. This rebuild formed the prototype of the highly successful Hall Class locomotives, of which a further 329 were built between 1928 and 1950.

Although the last Saint was destroyed in the 50’s :

The Great Western Society is reversing history and recreating a Saint Class locomotive by rebuilding a Hall Class locomotive No 4942 `Maindy Hall’ back to a Saint, just as it would have been around 1913. Based on one of the first batches of Saints, it will feature straight foot-plating, correct type cylinders with inside steam pipes and lever reverse. Top feed will be retained due to its major benefits.

Obviously such a project will be expensive. If you would like further information on the project or feel that you could support Saint Project by making a donation or regular monthly contributions, or joining the regular working parties, please contact:

Richard Croucher
Appeal Co-ordinator
The Saint Project
Great Western Society Limited
Oxfordshire, OX11 7NJ

Tel: +44 (0) 1235 817200
Fax:+44 (0) 1235 510621
or e-mail

Or visit their website: Didcot railway centre

SMR 1/5th scale Steam Locomotive

-GWR Saint 2943 ‘Hampton Court’

Construction started by Trevor Guest

Completed by Twining Models Ltd, Northampton, 1939

1st Rebuild: J.Hughes, Hastings, 1958/59.

2nd Rebuild: N.Simkins,1986-1990

Wheel arrangement 4-6-0


‘Hampton Court’ has a very interesting history covering over fifty years. The locomotive ran on the Dudley Zoo railway from new until 1944 when she was sold to Ernest Dove of Nottingham. Whilst in the ownership of the Dove family the locomotive ran at various locations ranging from Eastwood, Ayr, Kendal, Hull. In 1948 the locomotive was sold to Bill Botterill and subsequently ran for a time at Cleethorpes.

During the winter of 1958-59 the locomotive was acquired by Jim Hughes for the Hastings Miniature Railway where she was rebuilt to look like a Saint. This entailed the removal of the outside valve gear and the fitting of a taper boiler. In this rebuilt condition the locomotive entered service in 1959 and continued to run at Hastings until 1974 when she was purchased by Walter Harper of Oakhill Manor. His ownership of the locomotive was relatively short as she had passed into the hands of Mark Bamford by 1978.

In about 1981 the locomotive was purchased by John Gretton and moved to Stapleford where she lay in store until late 1986. At this time rebuilding of the locomotive was commenced by Neil Simkins. What followed was an extensive rebuild which included a new boiler, wheel-sets and tender, the latter being constructed by Keith Wilson. At this point it may well be worth spending a few moments considering the tender. As originally built the tender, in line with usual miniature railway practice, was constructed such that the driver sat on top (but not straddled). The new tender has been constructed with a foot-well which allows the driver to sit much lower. This gives one the impression of “part of the locomotive” when driving.

The rebuild of the locomotive continued until August 1990 when the locomotive was run on air. ‘Hampton Court’ finally left the ‘works’ on 8th September 1990 for return to Stapleford and another chapter in her illustrious history.

The Saint, as with all the other “smaller” SMR locos, tends to double head on public days. Mostly as lead engine to the SMR 4-6-0 LMS Jubilee, which together make a great team.