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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Leamington Spa Station: gwrls237a

Close up showing the approach road to the original locomotive shed and the standard GWR water tank

Close up of image 'gwrls237' showing the approach road to the original locomotive shed and the standard GWR water tank. The shed would have been behind and to the left of the photographer although by the time the photograph was taken it had been destroyed by fire. The existence of coaching stock may indicate that the photograph was taken prior to September 1906 when the new shed and carriage sidings were opened south of the station. In between the water crane and water tank is a pile of material which because of its size is probably coal. This is the area recorded on the 1886 OS map and the 1901 schematic drawing where the coaling stage was sited. The absence of the coaling stage in the photograph, described as being built with stone walls and timber decking and some 40 feet long and 14 feet 10 inches wide, would indicate that it has been removed, perhaps being superceded by the 1906 shed. Loading the coal in to the tender or bunker of locomotives was very laborious involving men off-loading coal from wagons to the stage and then when required, shovelling the coal from the stage into the bunker or tender.

There were two roads accessing the shed, both commenced from the line running alongside the North signal box (seen above) with one line running to the left of the water tank and the other running to the right before curving away to the left past the water crane. The line that ran to the left of the water tank was intersected by the turntable which would have been located the other side of the water crane. In the middle of the photograph is a timber rail denoting the limits of the shed. In the distance can be seen the passenger footbridge and a 'parachute' water tank. The locomotive running on the down line is thought to be a GWR 2-4-0 which has been given the right away to run light engine.

The van standing alongside the water tank is a guards van. Robert Ferris writes, 'The end nearest the camera is the non-veranda side of a GW standard brake van (telegraphic code name TOAD). The central position of the stove pipe chimney stack makes it a diagram AA11 or earlier (AA12 onwards had a off set stack). I can see no other distinguishing features to tie it down further. The AA11 or earlier diagram dates it to pre-1913. The most common TOAD in this period was the diagram AA3 of which 840 were built between 1889 and 1901, but there were two types a 16 ton and a 20 ton version. The weight was made up by loading scrap iron as ballast weight into the hollow chassis, so the external design was identical'.