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GWR 157 Classes (1862 and 1878)



222-157-1862.JPG.634835a591e1738433661886bbb0da88.JPGThere were actually two 157 classes. The first, above, was specified by Gooch and built by Sharp Stewart in 1862. They could be regarded as a development of the earlier 69 class with larger driving wheels. They were numbered 157-166. They were little altered in their lives, with only one receiving a new boiler, from an Armstrong Goods. They did receive weatherboards and it is possible that some may have been given open cabs.

Most were scrapped in 1878/9 when the new 157 class took over their numbers. The last three stayed in service until 1881; these survivors were renumbered 172-4 for their declining years.


I don't usually put drawings up here that are featured in my book unless very heavily updated, but I thought both 157 classes should be in this piece. Normally 19thC heavy rebuilds, even those reusing "only the space between the wheels" were classified as renewals, but RCTS tells us the second 157s were classified as new. Its interesting that even when renewals were effectively all new locomotives they tended to keep the same frame type as their predecessors as these did. As with most of the later 19thC classes they had a healthy variety of different boilers fitted over their lives, domes and domeless, belpaire or round topped box. This sketch is intended to be representative for around 1900. A little prototypical note though: I typically draw my locomotives bearing the class number, so 157 here. But to be strictly correct then as I read RCTS 157 herself  never actually ran with a domeless Belpaire firebox boiler. 


And finally a Wolverhampton variant of the class, discussed in comments below.



Edited by JimC

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157 with a roundtop firebox, at Leamington. It might have been shedded at Stafford Road at the time, which could account for the Wolverhampton chimney.



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According to RCTS 157 was Northern division based, and that boiler was fitted at Wolverhampton. I don't know if its just a freak angle, I suppose it must be, but it almost looks as if those rivet heads are polished metal! That photo is in RCTS but dark and muddy, that's a far better version with much more detail visible. I may attempt a sketch of that form. Very hard to distinguish between colours in that photo though isn't it. Really useful post, thank you.

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I think it is just the light catching the rivet heads at a particular angle.


On colours, I guess varnished black, varnished dark green and varnished dark red look very much the same, tonally, on the photographic emulsions of the day.



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  • RMweb Gold

Interesting how the lining on the tender comes across lighter. Painted/cleaned at different times, or just some sort of lighting deception?

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Here's a sketch from Miss prism's photo of 157 with a Wolverhampton boiler. I've given it what I hope approximates a Wolverhampton paint colour, but not the lining. You'd never run out of variations if you were modelling the Armstrong/Dean era locomotives would you?  I've also added this image to the original post so they are all together.

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On 13/02/2023 at 14:18, Mikkel said:

Interesting how the lining on the tender comes across lighter. Painted/cleaned at different times, or just some sort of lighting deception?


It's probably that curious tallow wax finish known as "guivering", which cleaners often applied to GWR tenders at the time.

Edited by dpgibbons
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