John Speller's Web Pages Dean Locomotives

John Speller's Web Pages - GWR Broad Gauge Locomotives

Dean Locomotives
William Dean (1840-1905) was the Locomotive Superintendent of the Great Western Railway from the death of Armstrong in 1877 until his retirement in 1902, but in the last several years of his career was afflicted with what sounds as if it was probably Alzeimer's disease and G. J. Churchward increasingly assumed the day to day running of the Locomotive Department. Dean produced some very sound designs -- most notably the "Dean Goods" 0-6-0, many of which saw overseas service in World War I, and one of which beat the socks off a modern Ivatt 2-6-0 in the locomotive exchanges of 1948. On the other hand he experimented with some far from successful designs, one of which, the ill-fated 4-2-4T No. 9, did not even manage to get out of Swindon Works before derailing. Dean was the last Locomotive Superintendent of the Great Western in the broad gauge era, and his contribution to broad gauge design was to produce several classes of "Convertible" locomotives of the 2-4-0T, 0-4-2ST, 0-4-4T wheel arrangements, several varieties of 2-4-0, including No. 8, an experimental 4-cylinder tandem compound, and the Dean 2-2-2 (later 4-2-2) 30XX "Achilles" Class, said to have been the fastest locomotives of their day, although less powerful than the Gooch "Rover" Class they replaced.

Dean has sometimes received less credit than he deserves. We should not think that even after Churchward was running the Locomotive Department at Swindon he was not carrying out William Dean's wishes. It may be a surprise to some to know, but according to Charles Rous-Marten, William Dean told him some time before his death that he and Churchward had already planned out 4-6-0 No. 100 before before Churchward took over. There is no evidence for thinking that Churchward and Dean were ever anything other than of one mind, nor anything other than devoted friends. Churchward probably deserves the credit for fitting No. 100 with an improved taper boiler, but (as the photograph below shows) it didn't originally have one. Dean and Churchward were both great men.
William Dean (1840-1905) about the time he took over as GW Locomotive Superintendent in 1877
Nos. 14 & 16 were two powerful 2-4-0 express locomotives, designed to work the heavy 3.00 p.m. Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington train. No. 16 was the last coupled engine built for the broad gauge
Shown here at Exeter St. Davids No. 3508 was one of five 2-4-0 tanks converted by Dean into tender engines in 1890-91 for hauling the "Cornishman" non-stop between Exeter and Plymouth. With their 5' 1" wheels they were ideal for the South Devon banks
Dean's masterpiece, 4-6-0 locomotive No. 100 built in 1902. The first modern express locomotive. Sadly, narrow gauge
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