Tenders for Hawksworth locomotives

Article written by Ian Crowder in 2006

The familiar, riveted tenders that were attached to generations of Great Western Railway locomotives suddenly found unfamiliar company after F W Hawksworth took over from C B Collett as Chief Mechanical Engineer at Swindon in 1941.


Not only did he make improvements to the already successful Collett Hall class to create the Modified Hall class, with them he introduced a brand new tender design. This immediately stood out as being very different from anything seen on the GWR before. The tender was a sleek, all welded, flat-sided unit with a capacity of 4,000 gallons and was attached to all new Modified Hall, County and Castle class locomotives from 1944 onwards.


However, tenders rarely stayed attached to their first host locomotive for long and as time and overhauls went by, a number of Hawksworth locomotives became paired with earlier tenders and vice versa.


Just four original Hawksworth tenders found their way to Barry scrapyard and these were:

  • Tender 4084 attached to locomotive 4983 Albert Hall
  • Tender 4100 attached to 5972 Olton Hall
  • Tender 4117 attached to 5029 Nunney Castle
  • Tender 4122 attached to 5051 Drysllwyn Castle




Of them, two were sold to the steel industry for their chassis to be used as ingot carriers (a number of Bullied Pacific tenders suffered the same fate - hence no 35006 at Toddington has had a brand new tender built). The remaining two emerged years later attached to different locomotives - one (no 4084) with Hawksworth Modified Hall no 7903, Foremarke Hall. The other, which went to the Severn Valley Railway, is currently attached to no 4930 Hagley Hall on display in the Swindon outlet centre (but the tender number attached to it is from a Collett tender so its proper identity is uncertain - can anyone shed any light?). However, this tender saw many years' service on the SVR and it spent some time attached to Modified Hall no. 6960 Raveningham Hall - so the tradition of swapping tenders between locomotives continues into preservation.


One other complete tender survived: Tender 4078, attached to locomotive 6998 Burton Agnes Hall which went straight out of British Railways service to the Great Western Society at Didcot.


That makes three survivors of Hawksworth's tender design. But, there is at least one surviving Hawksworth tender chassis. The Foremarke Hall Transport Trust acquired one from Swindon works where it had been converted to a carrier for crane testing weights. This chassis was in better condition than the one that came with the locomotive from Barry scrapyard so it received the ex-Barry tank after it was refurbished. The old chassis later found its way to Tyseley where, hey presto, it received a new tank and once again became a complete tender to accompany Castle class no. 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumb.


Although Foremarke Hall was attached to tender no 4082 when new (that tender long ago scrapped), in fact the engine spent the majority of its British Railways career with various Collett tenders.


Brand new tender

Now effectively, Foremarke Hall has a brand new tender. The work carried out between January and March 2006 at DG Welding at Churchdown, near Gloucester, has been very extensive with relatively little of the original superstructure remaining.


The tank has received a number of internal design changes, primarily to ensure that there are no sediment traps. The work includes equipping the tank with manganese anodes, which will discourage future corrosion and have been found to be extremely effective in other tenders.


The original footplate area was designed so that it could if necessary, be adjusted to operate with locomotives of different footplate heights and this feature has been dispensed with. Instead, the area below the footplate has been used for additional water capacity. The internal water scoop pipe has also been removed while the fire hose connection - that was on the running plate - has been fitted beneath the tank.


So what's left of the original? The short answer is, not much: the bits retained include steps, lamp irons, handrails, locker doors, the tender tank hatch, the dome that houses the top of the (now non-existent) water scoop apparatus and, well, that's about it.


Enter one brand spanking new, improved, Hawksworth tender!