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7903 Foremarke Hall

article by: Ian Crowder
During GWR175, the 259 Hall and Modified Hall class locomotives built by the GWR and BR will be represented by no. 7903 Foremarke Hall.  The youngest surviving member of its class, 7903 was completed in 1949 and is pictured at Winchcombe station (Photograph: Ian Crowder)
During GWR175, the 259 Hall and Modified Hall class locomotives built by the GWR and BR will be represented by no. 7903 Foremarke Hall. The youngest surviving member of its class, 7903 was completed in 1949 and is pictured at Winchcombe station (Photograph: Ian Crowder)   Click to view larger version

1949: GWR Modified Hall class 4-6-0 no. 7903 Foremarke Hall
Owned by Foremarke Hall Trust, resident at Toddington

This locomotive is Hawksworth's modified version of the successful Collett Hall class mixed traffic locomotives.  No. 7903 is the youngest of the class to survive, emerging from Swindon works in 1949 after the formation of British Railways. 

The Hall class fulfilled a long-felt demand for a versatile engine with wide route availability, capable of handling anything from freight to express passenger.  The engines designed by Charles Collett, were based on the Churchward 'Saint' class but with smaller driving wheels, and production of the Hall class started in 1928 - more than fulfilling the traffic departments wishes.  Essentially this was the first genuine mixed traffic class to enter service in the UK and the concept was emulated by other railway companies, notably with the LMS and their ubiquitous 'Black 5' 4-6-0.  In all, 259 were built, including Hawksworth's modified version, which a better performer than the original version.  Improvements included better superheating and draughting of the fire while there were several other detail differences to improve the strength of the frames and reliability of the class.  There are visual differences and you can find out what they are by clicking here .  7903 has been a reliable performer on the GWR since it arrived six years ago following a 25-year restoration at the Swindon & Cricklade Railway.