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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Soho and Winson Green: gwrswg1936

Ex-Great Western Railway 2-6-2T 5101 class large prairie, No 4110 about to leave Soho and Winson Green Station

Ex-Great Western Railway 2-6-2T 5101 class large prairie, No 4110 about to leave Soho and Winson Green Station with the 1:45 pm Stourbridge Junction to Birmingham Snow Hill local passenger service on Saturday 25th November 1961.

Locomotive No 4110 was built in October 1936 at Swindon Works as part of lot 292. The 5101 class introduced in 1929, was an updated version of the 31xx (later 51xx) class, the first of which had been built in 1903. Externally the 5101 class differed from their predecessors by having curved drop ends, flanged motion plate and outside steam pipes. The cab roof was lowered and the coal bunker extended to hold four tons. The water tank capacity remained the same at 2,000 gallons. The class were adorned with copper capped chimneys and brass safety valves. The superheated standard No 2 long coned boiler operating at 200 lbs produced a tractive effort at 85% of 24,300lb, placing the locomotive in power class D. The maximum axle weight was 17 tons, 12 cwt, which limited the locomotives to main lines and some branch lines (Route colour Blue).

The power, speed and particularly the acceleration of these locomotives made them ideal for the Midlands suburban passenger duties where there was a requirement for frequent stops with heavy loads. As a result many of the 5101 class were allocated to the Wolverhampton division, but their useful life was curtailed by the introduction of DMUs in the late 1950s. No 4110 was initially allocated to Severn Tunnel Junction shed (STJ) for banking duties. Prior to nationalisation in December 1947, No 4110 was located at Stafford Road shed (SRD), near Wolverhampton and was known to be allocated to Tyseley shed (84E) in August 1950. In March 1959, No 4110 was known to have been allocated to Wellington shed (84H) and in June 1965, No 4110 was finally withdrawn from Severn Tunnel Junction shed (86E).

The first coach is a non-corridor BR standard suburban stock coach (type 3) with ten third class compartments, seating one hundred passengers. These coaches were introduced in the 1950s with at least one lot being built at Swindon Works in 1954. The second coach appears to be a non-corridor brake third to diagram D132. This was a Great Western Railway design, which was introduced after nationalisation in October 1948 and continued to be built until 1953 (with the final two lots built by external manufacturers). This coach had six third class compartments seating sixty passengers, a guard's compartment and a luggage compartment. With the introduction of DMUs, non-corridor suburban stock became redundant and most would be condemned by the mid 1960s.

Robert Ferris