Rapido Trains UK shall be producing the Great Western Railway 44XX class of 2-6-2T locomotives in the first phase of our ‘Small Prairie’ project.

The GWR’s legendary engineer George Jackson Churchward settled on the ‘Prairie’ or 2-6-2 wheel arrangement for a medium sized, main line tank engine in 1903. Could a smaller version of prototype No. 99 be suitable for branch lines? There was only one way to find out.

No. 115 was built in 1904 and deemed a success. It was followed by ten more in 1905/1906 and they eventually became the 44XX class.

44xx EP1 001
44xx EP1 005
44xx EP1 002
44xx EP1 003
44xx EP1 006
44xx EP1 004

Good though the 44XXs were, they were hampered by their 4ft 1 1/2in diameter driving wheels. From 1906, new locos were built with 4ft 7 1/2in diameter driving wheels and these became the famous 45XXs.

Despite being a small class, the 44XXs found work in many different parts of the Great Western network, including the Birmingham area and South Wales, but they are perhaps best known for their performances in Devon and Cornwall.

The locos went through many modifications and rebuilds in their lives and the last wasn’t withdrawn until 1955, having been through two World Wars, the Grouping and Nationalisation.

Our design features a solid chassis and a modular body design to allow us to allow for many design and detail variations such as chimneys, safety valves, steam pipes, handrails and more. This has in turn enabled a wide variety of liveries to be represented, even on such a small class.

We are very excited to bring this loco to life in model form, especially as it’s never been made in OO gauge ready-to-run.

Order your model now by clicking on the item below:

We’d like to thank Mark Sealey from Peak Rail, the Waterman Heritage Trust, GWR.org.uk, the denizens of RMWeb and Kenny Felstead for their help in developing this exciting range of models.

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