A continuation of Collett's numerous and highly successful 'Hall' class, the 'Modified Halls' incorporate improved features introduced by his successor F W Hawksworth, as a prelude to his own new designs intended for post WW2 service. They ran throughout the Great Western system, and many survived until the end of BR Western Region steam.
For some time after nationalisation of the railways in 1948, the newly formed BR continued construction of certain of the established designs of the absorbed companies. The 'Hall' class was one of these, building of which was not completed until the end of 1950.
6998 emerged from Swindon Works in January 1949, going initially to Cardiff's Canton depot. It survived until withdrawal by BR from Oxford in January 1966 after being honoured as the engine chosen to work the Western Region's last steam-hauled passenger train. In markedly better condition than the other survivors, it was selected by the Society to represent the typical two cylinder Great Western tender locomotive, no others at that time being expected to survive.
Delivered in steam to the Society's Totnes depot in April 1966, it came to Didcot in November 1967. Here it has been in virtually continuous service, also with plenty of main line and preserved railways use, ever since. It was was withdrawn from service in 1996 and is stored complete awaiting its turn in the queue for overhaul.
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