Earl Class locomotive GWR 3214 (Beeson for Mills)

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index

Earl Class locomotive GWR 3214 (Beeson for Mills)

BTMM map 063.gif

Arch Three , Area 63
1930s Layout, goods side

A green gauge 0 Great Western 2-4-0 Earl Class locomotive, sold by Mills and believed to be made by James Beeson.

Although the real GWR 3214 and its class were 4-4-0 locomotives, this model seems to have applied some artistic licence, and is a 2-4-0 engine.

The original locomotive

The Earl Class was something of an oddity, and represented a "chop shop" reconfiguration of two existing sets of 4-4-0 locomotives, the Duke Class and the Bulldog Class.

At the time, the Duke Class were past their estimated service life, with deteriorating frames, and the GWR needed to replace them with a similarly lightweight loco that could run on the Cambrian main line. At around the same time, the Bulldog class was obsolete, but many of them had an improved frame design. GWR's solution was to take apart both sets of locos and put the Duke boilers onto the Bulldog frames (giving a "DukeDog"). Thirty of these hybrid locos were produced between 1936 and 1939.


The class were initially assigned names, but usually didn't display them.

The story behind this is supposed to be that designer Charles Collett had been repeatedly nagged to name locomotives after some of the titled members and associates of the GWR board of directors, and eventually relented, naming the Earl Class after GWR-relevant Earls. However, to get back at the annoying aristocrats, the "new" class that he named after them was not some shiny new modern design, but the antiquated-looking recycled "Duke-Dogs". The Earls that congregated to watch the first of the Earl Class to enter service were apparently not amused to find that they were being represented as anachronistic leftovers from a previous age, and as a result, most of the class were never fitted with nameplates, and the names were reassigned to a different set of locos.

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