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GWR Route: Bearley to Alcester

Alcester Station - GWR Views: gwr-mra465

An unidentified Great Western 517 class 0-4-2T propels a auto trailer from Bearley into Alcester Station

An unidentified Great Western ‘517’ class 0-4-2T propels a auto trailer from Bearley into Alcester Station during the summer of 1928. At this time the Alcester Branch was worked by an auto train, which shuttled up and down the branch line six times each week day. The trains reversed at Alcester and Bearley with the exception of the 10:15am service from Alcester, which worked through to Stratford upon Avon avoiding Bearley Station and arrived at 10:42am. The return service to Alcester left Stratford upon Avon at 11:23am and also avoided Bearley Station. In addition two services each way hauled various goods wagons and a brake van as mixed trains. The auto trains had a mechanical arrangement, which allowed the driver to control the regulator and vacuum brake from the front of the auto trailer while leaving the fireman alone on the locomotive to tend the fire and maintain stream pressure. This ability to drive the train from either end alleviated the need to run the engine round at a terminus. In an attempt to address rising operating costs, the Great Western prepared a detailed report in 1926 on a selection of its branch lines. This included the Alcester Branch, where it was identified that the payment to the LMS for the use of Alcester Station amounted to £842, which was 12% of the annual expenditure on this line.

Robert Ferris