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

GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Soho and Winson Green: gwrswg1561

Ex-Great Western 14XX 0-4-2T No 1458 in black British Railways livery coupled with an auto-trailer pulls away from Soho and Winson Green Station

Ex-Great Western 14XX 0-4-2T No 1458 in black British Railways livery coupled with an auto-trailer pulls away from Soho and Winson Green Station on the main up line with the Dudley to Snow Hill Local (nicknamed the Dudley Dodger) in October 1956. The hipped roof of Soho and Winson Green Signal Box opened on 19th December 1909 can be seen above the auto trailer. This signal box was a standard Great Western Railway type 27C timber signal box, fitted with 61 levers in a vertical tappet 3 bar locking frame. The locomotive was built in 1935 as No.4858 at Swindon Works as part of Lot 288, entering stock at Stourbridge shed on 17th August 1935. No.4858 was allocated to Croes Newydd shed in April 1936 and subsequently moved to Banbury shed in June 1938.

In November 1946 No.4858 became No.1458, when the whole 48XX class was renumbered in to the 14XX series, to allow the original numbers to be used for those 28XX class 2-8-0 heavy freight locomotives which were being modified for oil burning. No.1458 returned from Banbury shed back to Stourbridge shed in November 1950 and remained there until December 1957. In November 1964 No.1458 was finally withdrawn from Gloucester shed and sold for scrap to Cashmores at Newport. These engines were an updated version of the 517 class 0-4-2T locomotives, which they were designed to replace. The axle weight was kept below 14 tons to allow them to operate on uncoloured routes and they were all fitted with auto-train gear, which allowed them to operate in both directions when paired with one or two auto-trailers

. This equipment removed the need for the locomotive to be released and moved to the other end of the carriages at terminus stations. Instead the driver could operate the regulator and brake from a driving vestibule in the auto-trailer, while the fireman maintained steam pressure from the locomotive. Most of the 14XX locomotives were also fitted with automatic train control (ATC) from new. This safety feature warned the driver when the train was passing a distant signal and automatically applied the brakes if the warning was not acknowledged. It was particularly useful in city smog or foggy weather. The auto trailer is a 70 foot long diagram T auto-trailer built in May 1911 as part of lot 1190.

It is thought to be No.W 76 W, which was believed to have been allocated to Stourbridge shed from at least August 1948 until it was condemned in September 1957. The six auto-trailers of this diagram had two passenger compartments either side of the entrance vestibule (identifiable from retractable steps below the opening inward doors). There was a luggage compartment and smaller passenger compartment at the end closest to the engine. This was the smoking compartment with 26 seats, while at the other end, adjacent to the driving vestibule, was the larger non-smoking passenger compartment with 44 seats. Originally all these auto-trailers had gas lighting with incandescent burners, but No.76 was fitted with electric lighting in 1929.

Robert Ferris