The GWR started designing and building 0-6-0 tank locomotives in 1860, and this continued into the BR era until 1956, with a total of 2,393 being built. The GWR also used 0-6-0 tank locomotives from other manufacturers’ designs and during the 20th Century always had at least 1,000 tank locomotives in stock! Pannier Tank engines were synonymous with the Great Western Railway network and could be seen throughout it until the end of Western steam in the mid 1960s.
The 8750 Class, or 87XX class, was first built in 1933, using an updated design of the GWR ‘standard’ Pannier Tank loco, the 57XX class; the enhancements included an improved cab with a higher roof, rectangular windows and grills (as opposed to the round windows, or “spectacles”, of the initial design), and sliding shutters and hinged doors for more protection from the elements. The new style cab was derived from the sister 5400 class, the first of which were built in 1931. Vacuum brakes, steam heating, and ATC were fitted.