Book Review: Great Western Pannier Tank Classes

Great Western Pannier Tank Classes
Credit: RailAdvent

Released just a few weeks ago, this new book from publishers Pen & Sword is probably best described as the encyclopedia of the Great Western Pannier Tank.

Great Western Pannier Tank
Credit: RailAdvent

Written by David Maidment, the hardback book measures around 26cm x 24cm and is over 360 pages long. It has a published price of £40, but at the time of writing can be picked up on Amazon for around £26.

Part of the ‘Locomotive Portfolios’ series the book covers the various designs of the 0-6-0 saddle tanks from 1860 onwards for both the Great Western Railway and independent railway companies.

Great Western Pannier Tank
Credit: RailAdvent

The book is split into 9 chapters and has many photographs, illustrations, drawings and information tables throughout about the steam locomotives

Chapter 1 covers the engineers: Sir Daniel Gooch, Joseph Armstrong, William Dean, George Jackson Churchward, Charles Benjamin Collet, and Frederick Hawksworth.

Chapter 2 looks at the early Great Western Saddle & Pannier Tanks

Great Western Pannier Tank
Credit: RailAdvent

Chapter 3 is about Absorbed Saddle & Pannier Tanks

Chapters 4-9 cover the various classes 57xx,54xx,64xx,74xx,94xx,15xx,16xx and 1366 along with designs that were never built.

The chapters are then followed by the appendices. These look at the technical numbers of the classes, complete with drawings. Information can be found here such as the cylinder sizes, heating surface, grate area, wheel diameter, axle weight, and engine weights, tank capacity, boiler pressure, and tractive effort. There are also lists of all the locos produced in the class along with allocations, dates built and withdrawn. A real Top Trumps of information on all the different locomotives.

With over 400 photographs in a mixture of black and white and colour, this book is and joy to look at visually. The wealth of information provided in the text, tables, and technical drawings add to the completeness of the book.

While most of us know a little about the Great Western Pannier Tank, perhaps mainly from those in preservation, this book gives an opportunity to learn so much more about their long history and many design variations.

The book is available to purchase from Amazon as well as from Pen & Sword

We would like to thank Pen & Sword for providing us with a copy of the book for review.


  1. 1. This book dispite its title apparently covers some saddle tank locos. Are these just the saddle tanks that were rebuilt as panniers or all saddle tanks.

    2. Please change your spell checker to English.


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