There was some variation within the class – some were built with double frames. They also changed over time – note the Belpaire Firebox on this locomotive – this was added later, as was the superheater.
The career’s of many members of the class can be regarded as international. In 1917 during the First World War, 62 engines were taken over by the ROD (Railway Operating Division) to work in France. In 1918, 14 of these were sent on to Salonika, of which eight survived to return home. Two others of the 62 were sold to the Ottoman Railways, one of which lasted until the 1950’s. The remaining 46 returned straight back from France to the UK.
During the Second World War, an incredible 108 members of the class were requisitioned by the War Department, forcing the GWR to bring back into service some members of the class that had previously been withdrawn. 79 members of the class were sent to France at the beginning of the war which resulted in some being destroyed and others captured by German occupiers. Only 30 would eventually return back to the UK after the war, although a number were also sold to China and three would end up in Russia (one of which went via Silesia and Austria, although this was returned to Austria in 1952). Of the remainder of the 108, six went to Tunisia and then Italy.
The class provided the basis to the Collett Goods 2251 class introduced in 1930 that were designed to replace the Dean Goods. However, 54 Dean Goods class locomotives were absorbed into British Railways in 1948, though all were withdrawn by the end of 1957.
2516 is the only survivor of the class. It is a member of the National Collection and currently resides in STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway. There is also a spare boiler available and there is support from many quarters to use this and/or 2516 and/or a new set of frames to bring an example back to working condition.