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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Soho and Winson Green: gwrswg2294

Ex-Great Western Railway 49xx (Hall) class 4-6-0 No 4943 ‘Marrington Hall’ passes over the main to relief line crossovers

Ex-Great Western Railway 49xx (Hall) class 4-6-0 No 4943 ‘Marrington Hall’ passes over the main to relief line crossovers hauling a down fitted freight. The photograph has been taken from the Soho and Winson Green Signal Box at the Birmingham end of the station in October 1956. The positioning of the two lamps denote a class D headcode, which indicates an express freight, livestock, perishable or ballast train partly fitted with automatic brake operative on not less than one third of the vehicles. On the left of the up main line is the rodding for fifteen switches and also the posts with pulleys supporting multiple signal wires.

Locomotive No 4943 was built in July 1929 at Swindon Works as part of lot 254. The Hall class locomotives were a development of the two cylinder express passenger Saint class locomotives. An existing locomotive, ‘Saint Martin’ was successfully modified in 1924 with six foot diameter wheels instead of its original 6 foot, 8 inch diameter wheels. With the same standard No 1 boiler as the Saint class, it developed a tractive effort at 85% of 27,275 lb, which classified them in power group D and their maximum axle weight was 18 tons, 9 cwt, which limited them to main lines and some branch lines (Route code - Red). Despite this route limitation, the design proved to be extremely successful and the locomotives were found to be equally at home hauling heavy freight trains or fast express services. As a result, by August 1939 there were one hundred and eighty six 49xx locomotives distributed across the Great Western Railway.

Locomotive No 4943 was originally allocated to Old Oak Common shed (PDN). In January 1934, No 4943 was known to have been allocated to Tyseley shed (TYS) and in January 1938 was known to have been allocated to Truro shed (TR). Just prior to nationalisation in December 1947, No 4943 was allocated at Old Oak Common shed again. The locomotive was withdrawn from Pontypool shed (86G) in December 1963 and sold to Birds, Swansea for disposal.

Robert Ferris