6000 King Class 4-6-0

Summary: GWR 6000 King Class was a range of 30 steam locomotives built by Great Western Railways at Swindon Works from 1927 to 1928, 1930 and 1936, and named after Great British Kings. The locos were the Railway's largest express passenger trains and they were designed by Chief Mechanical Engineer, Charles Benjamin Collett.

Discover facts about GWR 6000 King Class steam locomotives including where the locos were built, who they were named after, how many locos were built in total, who designed them, a complete list of locomotive names and numbers, accidents and incidents the locos were involved in, when the King Class was withdrawn from service and how many have been preserved and still run today.

GWR 6000 King Class Fact Sheet: What is the GWR 6000 King Class? The following fact sheet provides important details, specifications, timelines and history of GWR 6000 King Class, the Great Western Railway class of 4-6-0 steam locomotives.

GWR 6000 King Class Fact 1: This is a class of 4-6-0 steam locomotives. The term 4-6-0 defines the wheel arrangement of the steam loco. The King Classes were designed using 4 leading wheels on 2 axles in a leading bogie, 6 powered and coupled driving wheels on 3 axles with no trailing wheels. In the United States, this is a popular type of wheel arrangement which is known as a ten wheeler.

GWR 6000 King Class Fact 2: These particular steam locomotives were specifically designed to meet both the current and future needs of passengers. Great Western Railway aimed to have the ‘'most powerful express passenger steam locomotive in Britain'.

GWR 6000 King Class Fact 3: Great Western Railway named the steam locomotives after Great British Kings. The first King Class was named 'King George V' after the ruler of the United Kingdom at the time. The King George V steam locomotive was built in 1927. The steam engines that followed were named after Kings who ruled over England and the United Kingdom both before and after the reign/death of George V.

GWR 6000 King Class Fact 4: The Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Great Western Railway, Charles Benjamin Collett, directed the design. He too, had designed the Castle Class express passenger steam trains. The design of the GWR 6000 King Class was larger than the Castles or any other locomotives built by Great Western Railway. The locos functioned with increased tractive effort, larger cylinders and a unique leading bogie design which was built using inside bearings on the rear wheel and outside bearing on the fore wheel.

GWR 6000 King Class Fact 5: The steam locomotives were built at Swindon Works from 1927 to 1928, 1930 and 1936. There were 30 locos in the range, however, total amount of steam locomotives built was 31 as William III was replaced following an accident.

GWR 6000 King Class Fact 6: The steam locomotives were ahead of their time in many respects as the rail network wasn't entirely prepared for their longer and heavier design. The Castle Class continued to transport passengers in certain Cornish areas in Western England as some parts of the rail system's lines and bridges were too weak to withstand the additional weight. The GWR 6000 King Class were powerful express passenger steam engines and their use was restricted as a result. These locos ran the lines from London-Birmingham-Wolverhampton via Bicester and London-Taunton-Plymouth via Bristol and Westbury.

GWR 6000 King Class Fact 7: The following information relates to notable incidents and accidents:
The King William III, steam locomotive number 6007 was involved in an accident in January 1936 when it ran into six wagons left behind from a freight train which had split in Berkshire. Two people died as a result. The original King William III steam loco was written off and condemned in March 1936. A new one was built, using the same name and number, as a replacement. Parts of the original loco may have been used to build its replacement.
The King George VI, steam locomotive number 6028, was hauling a passenger train which derailed in Somerset in November 1940, consequently killing 27 and injuring 57.

GWR 6000 King Class Fact 8: All of the steam locomotives were withdrawn from service in 1962 when they were replaced by the diesel Hydraulic Western Class.

GWR 6000 King Class Fact 9: Three of the King Class steam trains have been preserved: 6000 King George V is currently located at NRM York, 6024 King Edward I is located at Didcot Railway Centre, 6023 King Edward II is located at West Somerset Railway.

GWR 6000 King Class Fact 10: Perhaps the most impressive steam locomotive produced was 6000 King George V which was the first King Class steam locomotive, built in June 1927. It is a preserved British steam locomotive which was originally shipped to the United States during the month of August after it was built. It featured in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's centenary celebrations; one of the area's most important, biggest and oldest railroads. It was during the railroad's celebrations that the impressive steam locomotive was presented with a bell and a plaque which led to its nickname 'The Bell'.




C. B. Collett

Build Date

1927-1928, 1930, 1936

Total Produced


Total Preserved


Number Series


Wheel Arrangement



4 (16¼n. x 28in.)

Boiler Pressure


Tractive Effort

40,300 lb

Power Classification


Driving Wheel

6ft. 6in.

Bogie Wheel



68ft. 2in.


135 tons 14cwt.

Water Capacity

4000 gals

Coal Capacity

6 tons

gwr king class locomotive names

The following information provides a complete list of GWR 6000 King Class steam locomotives from number 6000 to number 6029, built between the years of 1927 - 1936:

  • 6000 King George V

  • 6001 King Edward VII.

  • 6002 King William IV.

  • 6003 King George IV.

  • 6004 King George III.

  • 6005 King George II.

  • 6006 King George I.

  • 6007 King William III.

  • 6008 King James II.

  • 6009 King Charles II.

  • 6010 King Charles I.

  • 6011 King James I.

  • 6012 King Edward VI.

  • 6013 King Henry VIII.

  • 6014 King Henry VII.

  • 6015 King Richard III.

  • 6016 King Edward V.

  • 6017 King Edward IV.

  • 6018 King Henry VI.

  • 6019 King Henry V.

  • 6020 King Henry IV.

  • 6021 King Richard II.

  • 6022 King Edward III.

  • 6023 King Edward II.

  • 6024 King Edward I.

  • 6025 King Henry III.

  • 6026 King John.

  • 6027 King Richard I.

  • 6028 King George VI.

  • 6029 King Edward VIII.