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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Leamington Spa - GWR Locomotives: gwrls2085

GWR 388 Class 0-6-0 No 497 is seen derailed with its tender lying partly in the canal on 16th December 1911

GWR 388 class 0-6-0 No 497 is seen derailed with its tender lying partly in the canal on 16th December 1911. The GWR 388 class, sometimes referred to as the Armstrong Goods or Armstrong Standard Goods to differentiate from the Gooch Goods and Dean Goods classes, was a large class of 310 0-6-0 goods locomotives built by the Great Western Railway. Despite their description as goods engines, for many years they were also used on passenger trains. They were used throughout the GWR system where the gauge permitted, principally in the Northern Division where they were first introduced. Their duties were primarily replaced by other locomotives principally Churchward's mixed-traffic 2-6-0s, the 4300 Class of 1919-21.

Robert Ferris writes No 497 was built at Swindon Works (works no 228) in July 1870 as part of lot 21. As originally built the locomotive had a boiler pressure of 140 lb and produced a tractive effort, at 85% of 13,313 lb. It was originally allocated to Chester shed (CHR) and as a Northern Division locomotive was overhauled at Stafford Road Works in Wolverhampton, where the locomotive received a cab and brake modification. In June 1888, No 497 was fitted with the standard Wolverhampton parallel boiler (type W3) with a tall, centrally placed brass dome. In April 1904 a standard domed Swindon parallel boiler (type S4) was fitted. These locomotives were low priority for the new style boilers and it was not until February 1915 that a boiler with a belpaire firebox was fitted (type B4). This had a large dome located in the same position as the type S4 boiler. In June 1921, boiler shortages meant that a type S4 boiler was fitted, but this was replaced with a superheated boiler with a belpaire firebox in December 1923. In this final arrangement the locomotive had a tractive effort at 85% of 15,690 lb (power group - unclassified) and the maximum axle weight was 13 tons, 10 cwt, which meant the locomotive could travel on any line (route colour - uncoloured). In January 1921, No 497 was known to have been allocated to Stafford Road Shed in Wolverhampton (SRD) and the locomotive was withdrawn from Oxley shed (OXY) in November 1925. The 388 class locomotives were normally paired with 2,500 gallon tenders, The one in the photograph has been fitted with coal rails to increase its coal carrying capacity a modification that was introduced in 1890 and also has side fenders fitted inside the coal rails. This feature was commonly added to tenders until 1903 from which time solid side fenders were generally fitted and the coal rails removed.