Locomotive: Antelope class Configuration: 4-6-0 broad Gauge Company: Great Western Railway Years of production: 1892 to 1904 The Antelope class were the first 4-6-0 locos to be built for the GWR and the first 10 wheelers built for a British railway company. The GWRs 7 foot broad gauge known as Brunel gauge allowed for bigger rolling stock than was possible on standard gauge but before 1870 the policy of the management had been to keep locos small and train loads light. Standard gauge being built by other companies had begun by 1870 to encroach on the GWRs territory in South-West England, South Midlands and South Wales, particulary the valuable coal traffic from Wales and the Forest of Dean. The GWR was not allowed to build any new Brunel gauge track outside its territory so gaining new traffic by extending its territory was out. The GWR was forced to change its small engine policy and decided to build new large rolling stock out to the maximum of its loading gauge and save money by running fewer larger trains. The first new big engines were fairly standard 4-4-0s and 0-6-0s but the locomotive design team saw how new 4-6-0 passenger and 2-8-0 freight locos were revolutionising transport in the USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia and decided this was the direction to go. In 1890 a new standard boiler was designed and tested at Swindon works it was big and with a much deeper firebox than any previous British engine. It was to be the standard for a new type of loco a 4-6-0 express passenger but would also be used for a mixed traffic 4-6-0 and heavy freight 2-8-0. In May 1892 the first of the new High Power locos rolled out of Swindon to the astonishment of the British press who were used to much smaller engines, it gleamed in GWR Brunswick Green with Crimson Lake underframes and Vermillion wheels it also had lots and lots and lots of shiny Brass. After running in on the Bristol to Exeter trains the day came in July when with the tender piled high with finest washed Welsh Steam coal usually kept for the Royal Train the Antelope steamed out of Cheltenham station at the head of the 10.06 Cheltenham Flyer to Paddington express which had until recently been the fastest regular train in the world a title recently lost to the New York Central line. The line was cleared of all slow trains and all signal boxes received a 5 bell code to not impede the Flyer a code usually reserved for the Royal Train. The Antelope built up speed steadily but by the time Swindon was reached the Flyer was touchinging 70mph and averaging 52mph. The rest of the line from Swindon to Maidenhead is known as Brunels billiard table and the driver was able to put the regulator on full and link up the Stephenson valve gear to maximum expansion. Between Swindon and the famous Maidenhead Viaduct the average speed was 72.5mph and even slowing into Paddington station only dropped the average speed from Cheltenham to 65mph. The Antelope was met in London with a lightning storm of flash bulbs and all the headlines across the world the next morning were of the astonishing new express locomotive. More 4-6-0 Express locos were built and the GWR gloried in the publicity of the fastest railway in the world for many years but the real locomotive that saved the GWR Brunel gauge was the dirty coal hauling 2-8-0 and 2-8-2Tanks.