John Speller's Web Pages Hawksworth Locomotives

John Speller's Web Pages

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Frederick William Hawksworth (1882-1976) grew up in Swindon where his father was in the Swindon drawing office and where he was a lifelong member of the choir of St. Mark's Church. As Chief Mechanical Engineer he was responsible for designing the 10XX "County" and 6959 "Modified Hall" Class 4-6-0s and three classes of Pannier Tanks. Hawksworth's dream of a new Great Western "Pacific" locomotive sadly never came to fruition.

Hawksworth was also well-known for his elegant comfortable coaches with their distinctive sloping roof ends. His tenure as Chief Mechanical Engineer at Swindon was from 1941 to 1949.

One of the "Modified Halls", No. 6999 "Capel Dewi Hall" achieved 96 m.p.h. at Curry Rivel Junction near Taunton in 1964.

As part of the war effort Swindon Works built a number of "8-F" Class 2-8-0 freight locomotives to Stanier's LMS design. It occurred to Mr. Hawksworth that the flange blocks from the LMS locomotives could be used to create a new welded steel "Swindon Standard No. 15" boiler, designed for a pressure of 280 psi. This made possible the 10xx "County" Class locomotives, which were designed to be capable of doing approximately the same job as a "Castle" but at a considerably lower initial cost. It is unfortunate that the short wheelbase of the "County" Class coupled with its high boiler pressure made for the same kind of rough riding that had characterized Churchward's "County" Class 4-4-0s. In 1956 British Railways cured this by lowering the boiler pressure to 250 psi. In France André Chapelon achieved some stunning successes with compounding on pressures of around 280 psi. So might it not have been beyond the realms of possibility to solve the problem of rough riding by designing a 3-cylinder compound "County" on the GWR? I would also have liked to see the No. 15 boiler tried on a 28xx Class 2-8-0.

The Great Western Directors decided that the 57xx Class pannier tanks looked old-fashioned with their domed boilers, hence the 94xx Class introduced in February 1947. For heavy shunting on restricted curves Hawksworth also introduced the 15xx Class 0-6-0PT under B.R. in June 1949. Hawksworth's final 0-6-0PT design was the diminutive 4' 1˝" 16xx Class, which for weight reasons reverted to the domed boiler and was introduced in October 1949.
Hawksworth "15xx" Dock Tank 0-6-0PT No. 1501, with Walschaerts' Valve Gear and no running plate. Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
Preserved 94xx Class 0-6-0PT No. 9466 at Tyseley. Image courtesy Wikipedia Commons. A video of this locomotive at work on the Liskeard & Looe line may be seen here.
The last of Hawksworth's "County" Class 4-6-0s, No. 1029 "County of Worcester," turned out from Swindon Works in April 1947. Though the "County" Class has now been extinct for several years, the GWR County Project is in the process of recreating No.1014 "County of Glamorgan" at Didcot.
Preserved Hawksworth "Modified Hall" Class 4-6-0 No. 7903 "Foremarke Hall" built in April 1949. Image courtesy Wikipedia Commons. No. 7903 can be seen at work on the Severn Valley Railway in this video.
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