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 recognition 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.
4709 is a new member of the class, which is being built using a mixture of new parts and others recycled from former Barry scrapyard locomotives. The Great Western Society project really began in 2012 with the cutting of new mainframe plates. The frames were duly assembled at Llangollen, and in August 2020 were transported to the premises of Leaky Finders at Hele, near Exeter, where the rolling chassis is to be assembled.
Download the 4709 Appeal Leaflet (426kb .pdf document)