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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Harbury Cutting and Tunnel: gwrhc3917

Great Western Railway 4-6-0 40xx (Star) class No 4033 ‘Queen Victoria’ heads an up express through Whitnash Cutting

Great Western Railway 4-6-0 40xx (Star) class No 4033 ‘Queen Victoria’ heads an up express through Whitnash Cutting. The photograph is undated, but believed to be from the mid 1920’s.

Locomotive No 4033 was built at Swindon Works in November 1910 as part of lot 180 and the ten locomotives in this batch were all given the names of English Queens. These four cylinder express passenger locomotives were designed by Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) George Churchward, who incorporated the French De Glehn cylinder arrangement as a simple with two sets of valve gear. As such they were the forerunners of the 'Castle' and 'King' classes and handled the elite expresses of their day. No 4033 was built with a 14 / 84 superheater arrangement (14 tubes / 84 elements) in a fully coned standard No 1 boiler (type D4), which operating at a pressure of 225 lbs producing a tractive effort at 85% of 25,090 lb. This classified the locomotives in power group D, while their maximum axle weight of 18 tons, 12 cwt restricted them to main lines and a few branch lines (colour code Red). For more information on the Great Western Railway locomotive classification system see 'Engine Map'. Shortly after construction top-feed apparatus became standard. This extended boiler life by removing impurities from the boiler water by spraying the cold feed water into the steam space over a removable sloped tray. One additional safety feature was the provision of brakes on all wheels including the bogies, but these bogie brakes were complicated to maintain and as their application was deemed to provide little extra braking benefit, they were removed from November 1923. Outside elbow steam pipes were fitted to No 4033 in April 1940. No 4033 was initially allocated to Old Oak Common shed (PDN) outside Paddington and withdrawn from Bath Road shed (82A) in Bristol in June 1951.

The first coach is a fifty-seven foot long, toplight luggage van with gangway. Officially termed a Passenger Brake Van (PBV). This has been built to the early K18 diagram, as this coach has wooden panels with raised mouldings. The later diagram numbers were of similar length and layout, but they all had flush steel panels. The table below details all the fifty-seven foot PBV by lot number, with diagrams, completion date and running numbers. It will be noted that sixteen of these were rebuilt from Ambulance cars that had been returned to the company at the end of World War One.

Lot No Diagram Completed Date Quantity Running Numbers
1204 K18 December 1912 Three 247, 248 and 249
1241 K19 August 1914 Five 250, 251, 252, 253 and 254
1253 K22 April 1915 Two 255 and 256
1281 K22 April 1922 Ten 257 to 266
1288 K22 June 1922 One 267 (Ex Ambulance car)
1301 K22 July 1922 Twenty five 1129 to 1153
1344 K34 February 1925 Two 1156 and 1164 (Ex Ambulance cars)
1344 K35 February 1925 Two 1154 and 1155 (Ex Ambulance cars)
1344 K36 February 1925 Seven 1157 to 1163 (Ex Ambulance cars)
1345 K34 February 1925 Three 1166, 1167 and 1168 (Ex Ambulance cars)
1345 K37 February 1925 One 1165 (Ex Ambulance car)

The second coach is a seventy foot long, brake third corridor coach. These were termed ‘South Wales’ stock as the first seven coach sets were originally built for the Paddington to Swansea route in 1923. The coaches had four third class compartments, a toilet, guard’s compartment and large luggage compartment with three double doors on each side. Diagram allocations depended upon which side the corridor ran and the earlier version (diagram D82) was bow ended at the compartment end. The table below details the right hand brake thirds:

Lot No Diagram Completed Date Quantity Running Numbers
1309 D82 May 1923 Two 3518 and 3519
1321 D82 July 1924 Four 4613, 4615, 4617 and 4619
1321 D84 July 1924 Six 4601, 4602, 4605, 4607, 4609 and 4611

Robert Ferris