4-6-0 Identification Guide

by John Lewis


The GWR used the 4-6-0 wheel arrangement extensively from Churchward onwards. Telling the different 4-6-0 loco classes apart is not always easy in photographs, especially for newcomers to the GWR. Below, John Lewis provides a quick guide to help such photo identification.

Note: This is meant as a quick guide only, for use with photographs. It ignores driving wheel diameters as far as possible.


4 cylinder Castle Class No. 5063 "Earl Baldwin"

4-cylinder 4-6-0s

All have characteristic deep slide bars and inside cylinder covers which protrude beyond the front of the smokebox. The outside cylinders are placed by the rear bogie wheel. Steam pipes (where visible) are elbowed.

Churchward cabs with no side windows. Built without steam pipes being visible. Note: Some rebuilt as Castles. Additional notes on detail variations can be found here.

Collett cabs with side windows. Inside framed bogies. Elbow steam pipes.

Collett cabs with side windows. Half outside framed bogies. Larger boiler. Elbow steam pipes.

2-cylinder Saint Class, No. 2930 "St Vincent"

2-cylinder 4-6-0s

All the 2-cylinders have characteristic flat looking slide bars and no inside cylinder covers. The outside cylinders are placed between the bogie wheels and visible steam pipes are straight. Only inside framed bogies were used.

Churchward cabs with no side windows. Early ones had angular footplates and cab bottom at footplate level. Built without steam pipes being visible.

Modernised version of Saints with Churchward cabs and smaller driving wheels. The footplate over the cylinders was level.

Modified Halls
As earlier Halls, but with plate frames throughout. These show above the footplate at the front, below the smokebox, but there are no inside cylinder covers. The bogies on the modified Halls had plate frames which protrude in front of the leading bogie wheels.

Effectively Halls with 5' 8" driving wheels, instead of 6'. Therefore raised footplate above the cylinders. Collett type cab.

Lighter version of Granges with smaller boiler. Difficult to tell apart from Granges in photos showing the fireman's (left hand) side if numbers or names not evident. Granges, Halls and Counties had 4 cone injectors which show as a long cover on the boiler side below the handrail. Manors do not have this feature, but it was on the driver's (right-hand) side of the locomotive only.

Counties 10xx
Similar in appearance to Modified Halls, but had continuous splashers over driving wheels, instead of individual ones. Some had double chimneys. Collett type cab.

John Lewis, January 2002


Photos courtesy The Virtual Railroad