Great Western Society 47XX Project

Recreating Churchward's final masterpiece
British Railways
  • materials.co.uk
  • materials.co.uk
  • materials.co.uk
  • materials.co.uk
  • materials.co.uk
  • materials.co.uk

Rebuilding the ultimate British 2-8-0

Churchward's last great masterpiece, the 47XX mixed traffic 2-8-0, is among the most iconic locomotives ever produced for the Great Western Railway. Only nine of these huge locomotives were built, primarily for fast overnight freight work, earning them the nickname 'Night Owls'.

Ironically the heyday for the class only came in the post-nationalisation years when the potential of these locomotives for use on heavy Summer Saturday passenger trains was recognised. In regognition of this they were turned out in fully lined BR passenger green livery.

None of the class survived, but over the years many people have expressed a desire to see a 47XX 2-8-0 in action again. Now the Great Western Society is creating a new member of the class, No 4709.

We hope you will enjoy visiting this website regularly to keep up to date with the build progress and discover how you can help.



Discover the fascinating history of the 47XX class locomotives here

Keep up-to-date with news of the construction of 4709, the new 47XX class 2-8-0 locomotive here


Our Supporters scheme is an easy way for you to help the 4709 Project and enjoy a host of privileges. Click here for details or to make a secure online donation via The Big Give.

John Wood, former President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said:
The Great Western Society project to build a 47XX engine is admirable as well as hugely exciting. It's a true engineering challenge that will require a great deal of detective work, as well as significant design expertise to recreate many parts that no longer exist. Additionally it will help to train apprentices in the skills and techniques needed to build this locomotive, thus preserving them for future generations.
The Book

4709 - The Story so far
Compiled by Andrew Fowler, Softback, 48 pages, £10 (inc P&P) by post from Richard Croucher, 4709 Appeal, Didcot Railway Centre, Didcot OX11 7NW

All profits to the fund

Browse the fascinating 47XX works drawings here
Great Western Society 47XX Project • Didcot Railway Centre, Oxfordshire OX11 7NJ • Registered Charity 272616