If you wish to communicate with me about steam trains, railway art or related jigsaw puzzles, please email David, at :

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Pendennis Castle

Today, 14th April 2011, I am using two photographs of steam railway jigsaws, from my collection, that are among my favourites. There are two reaons for my choice (i) even though I have always lived in St Helens, my favoured trainspotting region was that on which the Great Western Railway (GWR) operated and (ii) the artwork involved in both is as good as it gets. The famous 'Castle' class 4-6-0, No.4079 Pendennis Castle, is the subject of both puzzles. In each puzzle she is depicted in a totally different style and location, but with impact to spare.

The main claim to fame for No.4079 was the fact that she was loaned to the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) in 1925 for trials agains the latest Gresley 'Pacifics'. The 4-6-0 'Castle' outperfomed the larger 4-6-2 'Pacifics' and covered herself in glory. The GWR then sent No.4079 to stand alongside Gresley's Flying Scotsman at the 1925 British Empire Exhibition (ran 1924-1925) and proclaimed it to be "the most powerful express locomotive in Britain". She avoided the cutter's torch when she was privately purchased from British Railways in 1964; In 1977 she was exported to Western Australia to run on the railway of the Hammersley Iron Company. She arrived back in Britain after being purchased by the Great Western Society and was placed at the Didcot Centre in 2000.

No.4079 Pendennis Castle has been painted in dramatic style by Bary A. F. Clarke and reproduced by Wentworth as a wooden puzzle available in a number of sizes and simply titled Pendennis Castle. The first pic shows the 500-piece puzzle. The locomotive is painted at either sunrise or sunset against an electric blue and orange sky which is partly obscured by copious clouds of black exhaust.

The second pic shows the Falcon 300-piece puzzle, from the Steamtrains series, titled Castle Class - GWR with original artwork by Rob Johnson  The locomotive pictured in 3/4 elevation is No. 4079 Pendennis Castle heading chocolate and cream (GWR) passenger ccarriages, exiting the Prince Albert Bridge. The panache of this class of 4-6-0 standard bearers is forever associated with the steam railway era. The bridge was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and spanned the River Tamar, thus linking the counties of Devon and Cornwall; it was opened by Prince Albert in 1859. Brunel's name is  engraved for posterity on a bridge portal.