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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Knowle & Dorridge Station: gwrkd2326

Ex-Great Western Railway 4-6-0 68xx (Grange) class No 6853 ‘Morehampton Grange’ passes through Knowle and Dorridge Station

Ex-Great Western Railway 4-6-0 68xx (Grange) class No 6853 ‘Morehampton Grange’ passes through Knowle and Dorridge Station with a northbound freight train on the down relief line on Saturday 6th March 1965. This photograph was taken from the footbridge at the northern end of the station looking towards Birmingham and shows a trailing crossover between the relief lines and beyond this is a facing switch to the down goods running loop which extends as far as Bentley Heath Crossing. The ground disc signals for the trailing crossover can be seen between the tracks either side of the crossover. Those controlling the down relief and down goods running line are semaphore signals on a post positioned out of sight to the left of the tender. On the extreme right of the photograph both the starting and distant signals for the down main line can be seen in the clear position.

The Grange class were intended as an enlarged rebuild of the life expired 43xx class locomotives using some of the same components (wheels and motion), but with new frames and the more powerful standard No 1 boiler operating at 225lb to develop a tractive effort at 85% of 28,875lbs (Power group D). After 1936, eighty elderly 43xx class locomotives were withdrawn to provide parts. The operational area of the new locomotives was more restricted than the 43xx class because the maximum axle weight was 18tons, 8cwt, which limited the locomotives to main lines and a few branch lines (Route classification Red). Nevertheless the 68xx class proved to be useful mixed traffic locomotives and it is likely that more of the 43xx class would have been rebuilt if the Second World War had not interrupted the rebuilding programme.

Locomotive No 6853 was built in November 1937 at Swindon Works as part of lot 308. Originally allocated to Tyseley shed (TYS) the locomotive was allocated there prior to nationalisation in December 1947 and withdrawn from there in October 1965. It was broken up by Cohens in Kettering in the following year.

Robert Ferris