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John Speller's Web Pages - GWR Broad Gauge Locomotives

Armstrong Locomotives
Joseph Armstrong (1816-1877)

Armstrong was an exact contemporary of his predecessor, Sir Daniel Gooch, from whom he took over the Great Western's locomotive department in 1865. He is in many ways the unsung hero of the Great Western broad gauge. All of his broad gauge designs -- the 2-4-0 "Hawthorn" Class, the 0-6-0 "Swindon" Class, and the 0-6-0T "Sir Watkin" Class were all first rate engines. He also converted a number of narrow gauge 0-6-0 saddle tanks for the broad gauge in 1876, and Dean converted several more in 1878. Additionally, Dean converted a number of Armstrong's narrow gauge "Standard Goods" 0-6-0 class for the broad gauge in 1884-88. Many of these "Convertibles" were later changed back to the narrow gauge after 1892. It is a pity that the Great Western broad gauge was not in the ascendant, or Armstrong might have produced some totally stunning locomotives. He certainly had the ability to do so. He might also have produced additional interesting designs if a heart attack had not carried him off at the relatively early age of 61. It has to be said that even his younger brother George, who spent his career designing narrow-gauge locomotives at Wolverhampton, is said to have been in tears when the last broad gauge "Cornishman" left Paddington in 1892.
Joseph Armstrong (1816-1877)
Armstrong double-framed 0-6-0ST as temporarily converted for the broad gauge. No. 1256 is shown hauling the last down "Cornishman" at Truro on 20 May 1892
The "Sir Watkin" Class of 0-6-0 tanks were built with condensing apparatus for working on the Metropolitan Railway. "Miles" is shown here after the removal of the condensing apparatus. To enlarge right click and select "view image"
Armstrong "Swindon" Class 0-6-0 No. 2088, originally named "Oxford." The photograph was taken in Taunton on the site where the new engine shed was built in the 1890s, across Station Road from the Great Western Hotel, which can be seen in the background
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