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GWR King Class 4-6-0 No. 6024 King Edward I

No. 6024 King Edward I in Quainton's Up Yard in 1989 before leaving for its new base in Birmingham

Alan Hogg - No. 6024 King Edward I in Quainton's Up Yard in 1989 before leaving for its new base in Birmingham

During the late 1920s, the railways of Great Britain were introducing faster and heavier trains on their major routes. To cope with these more arduous duties, the Great Western Railway introduced an improved Castle Class: the King Class of 1927. The locomotives were to the design of Mr C B Collett and thirty were built between 1927 and 1930.

6024 was built at Swindon in June 1930, one of the last ten of the class (6020-9), under lot 267, at a cost of £7,175. After running in, 6024 was put to work on the GWR´s prestige services. Initially sent to Laira MPD at Plymouth. King Edward I also worked from Old Oak Common in London, and finally from Cardiff Canton. Covering 1,570,015 miles and hauling such trains as the Cornish Riviera Express and the Red Dragon, the locomotive spent its entire working life on top link duties.

In September of 1953, 6024 received a new WB type boiler. It was probably at this time that new cylinders and front frame were fitted, the latter modifications being applied to all members of the class. Early in 1956 the whole class was withdrawn from service temporarily when fatigue cracks were noticed in the bogie frames. Strengthening plates were quickly devised and the locomotives were all back in service within a short time. Newly-developed double blast pipes and chimneys were also fitted to the Kings in the later 1950´s, and King Edward I received this treatment in March 1957.

The great change in British Rail locomotive policy was not to put this new equipment to good use however, and just over five years later, on June 1962, 6024 was condemned for scrap and sold to Woodham Brothers of Barry. Eleven years were spent in the salt-laden sea before the 6024 Preservation Society purchased the engine, bringing it to Quainton at the end of March 1973.

In 1989, sixteen years since restoration began, King Edward I ran several demonstration trains at Quainton. To enable the locomotive to be used on Mainline specials, the 6024 Preservation Society decided to move King Edward I to the Birmingham Railway Museum in 1989. Since then it has visited several preserved railways around the country, as well as being a regular performer on Mainline specials. Her third 10 year overhaul started in October 2002, re-entering service on 7th October 2004, again based out of Tyseley.

King Edward I operated sixteen Aylesbury to Quainton shuttles with No. 5029 Nunney Castle over the August 1992 Bank Holiday weekend to celebrate the centenary of the railway at Aylesbury.


After some financial problems King Edward I has now changed hands, now belonging to Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust. Its boiler certificate was due to run out in 2011, with a possible extension to Spring 2012, after which a heavy overall will be due. In April 2011 at Didcot Railway Centre King Edward I meet the newly restored No. 6023 King Edward II for the first time since December 1962. The locomotive has subsequently moved to the West Somerset Railway for its 10 year boiler overhaul, the boiler being lifted in June 2012. The frames have been stripped, shot-blasted and painting started.

Current Location - Undergoing 4th Heavy Overhaul in preservation at the West Somerset Railway. Official King Edward I site.

To Restore a Great Western King - Quainton News No. 16 June 1973
Progress on the King - Quainton News No. 20 - Summer 1974
The 6024 Preservation Society - Quainton News No. 28 - Summer 1976
Golden Jubilee of King Edward I - Quainton News No. 42 - Autumn / Winter 1980 / 81
King's Progress - Quainton News No. 46 - Spring / Summer 1982
Shed Noticeboard - 6024 Progress Report - Quainton News No. 64 - Winter 1987 / 88
The Renaming of 6024 King Edward I - Quainton News No. 66 - Winter 1989 / 90
Visiting locomotive gallery - Quainton News No. 101 - April 2009
Gallery of Locomotives previously located at Quainton - Quainton News No. 101 - April 2009

No. 6024 King Edward I during the mainline visit in August 1992

Alan Hogg - No. 6024 King Edward I during the mainline visit in August 1992

Builder :- Great Western Railway Date Built :- 1930 Number :- 6024
Alternate Numbers :- - Name :- King Edward I Wheel Arrangement :- 4-6-0
Tractive Effort :- 40, 300 lb Boiler Pressure :- 250 psi Cylinder Dimensions :- 16¼ " x 28"
Weight :- 136t 4c Driving Wheel Dia. :- 6' 6""

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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Page Updated: 02 November 2018