·  LMS  ·  GWR  ·  LNER  ·  Misc  ·  Stations  ·  What's New  ·  Video  ·  Guestbook  ·  About

GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Queens Head Yard: gwrqhy1995

GWR 56xx Class 0-6-2T No 6633 heads an up freight train past Queens Head sidings on 29th June 1964

Ex-Great Western Railway 0-6-2T 56xx class No 6633 on the up relief line with a class ‘K’ freight (single lamp on right of buffer beam) was photographed from Queens Head Signal Box on 29th June 1964. This was a stopping freight train and has probably collected the oil tank wagons from the BP and Shell-Mex rail-feed distribution depot adjacent to Rowley Regis & Blackheath station on the Stourbridge extension railway. These four wheeled oil tank wagons were privately owned (PO) wagons, but were constructed to standard specifications laid down by the Railway Clearing House (RCH). In the photograph, most of the cylindrical tanks appear to be about six foot in diameter which would give them a capacity of around 2,800 gallons. They all have top manholes, but with no platform (indicating a pre 1938 design). The load would weigh between 10 and 14 tons depending on the density of the liquid carried. Most of the tanks are saddle mounted on a steel underframe, the tanks being held in position by diagonal bracings to end cross channels, with wire ropes and steel bands secured over the top of the cylindrical tanks. There are two barrier open wagons separating the locomotive from the oil tank wagons. For many years it was mandatory for a train of loaded Class A tank wagons to have at least an empty non-tank wagon marshalled at the head and tail ends of the train as a safety measure.

No 6633 was built in August 1928 at Swindon Works as part of lot 252. This class of locomotives were originally designed for the South Wales coal traffic to replace obsolete types belonging to the companies absorbed at the Grouping in 1921. They had inside cylinders, which made them more compact and suitable for curves greater than 4.5 chains radius. The standard No 2 boiler operated at 200 lb giving them a tractive effort at 85% of 25,800 lb, which classified them in power group D. The maximum axle weight was 18 tons, 17 cwt limited them to main lines and a few branch lines (route colour – Red). The side tanks could hold 1,900 gallons of water. In South Wales they normally operated chimney first up the valleys and bunker first down hill (where the single bogie wheels gave them additional stability). With the decline of the coal trade these powerful locomotives found themselves transferred to other divisions, initially for banking and heavy freight duties, but the locomotives were also versatile enough to operate regular heavy suburban and excursion passenger trains. No 6633 was initially allocated to Bristol St Philips Marsh shed (SPM). Prior to nationalisation, in December 1947 the locomotive was known to have been allocated to Shrewsbury shed (SLP). While in May 1965, No 6633 was finally withdrawn from Tyseley shed (2A).

Robert Ferris