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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

GWR Route: North Warwickshire Line

Tyseley Shed: gwrt2966

GWR vacuum braked Cattle Wagon No 68438 on the cripple road in front of the Sand Furnace at Tyseley Shed in July 1947

Great Western Railway vacuum braked Cattle Wagon (telegraphic code Mex B) No 68438 on the cripple road in front of the Sand Furnace at Tyseley Shed in July 1947. On the cattle wagon below the company's initials is chalked the fault description ‘Vac Cylinder Def(ective)’ while a chalk ‘X’ can be seen on the cylinder.

The Sand Furnace with its distinctive square brick chimney was built alongside Tyseley's Locomotive Roundhouses as part of the original construction in 1908. Sand was required to help locomotives start and stop without slipping when the rails were wet. Locomotives and brake vans carried sand boxes with pipes that could deposit the sand next to the wheels. Dry sand was used to ensure the sand flowed freely through the pipes and therefore Sand Furnaces were constructed at principle Engine Sheds.

This Cattle Wagon was one of 575 built to diagram W5 between 1902 and 1911, they could carry eight ton and had a typical tare weight of 7 tons, 12 cwt. These cattle wagons were eighteen feet long across the headstocks with an eleven foot wheelbase and were termed ‘large’. They had a low pitch iron roof and cross end bracing. There were 1260 unfitted large cattle wagons with a variety of brake types, which were allocated diagram W1, while the 575 were vacuum fitted, in addition to having the Dean/Churchward III brake and were allocated diagram W5. Over 250 of the unfitted large cattle wagons were later vacuum fitted (under Lot L494) to increase the cattle wagon stock that could run in fast fitted freight trains and these were therefore also reclassified as diagram W5.

The British Railway Companies had agreed three standard sizes of cattle wagons available for hire: Large – Eighteen feet long Medium – Fifteen foot, three inches long Small – Thirteen foot, six inches long

The larger wagons were made more versatile by providing movable partitions, which would limit the space available. To prevent unscrupulous farmers from moving the partition a simple locking device was devised and patented by Mr Wright and Marillier in 1903. This locking device was attached to one of the doors on each side and would only release the partition when the door was open. In the photograph this locking device can be seen on the left hand side of the wagon.

The following table identifies some of the running numbers associated with each lot which was built as diagram W5 between 1902 and 1911.

Lot No Quantity Running Numbers
L396 25 13628, 13642, 13677, 13713, 13719, 13752, 13754, 13790, 13807, 13812, 13813, 13824, 13829, 13843, 13844, 13846, 13849, 13876, 13878, 13895, 13902, 13904, 13920, 13929, 13943
L407 25 16004, 16005, 16011, 16019, 16025, 16026, 16028, 16032, 16034 to 16040, 16043, 16045, to 16047, 16050 to 16052, 16054, 16059, 16061
L416 25 68338 to 68362
L529 50 68413 to 68462
L602 100 16002, 16007, 16027, 16150
L616 50 13637, 13647, 13664, 13669, 13682, 13687
L662 300 26002 to 26005, 26008, to 26012, 26017 to 26020, 26022 to 26026, 26028 to 26031, 26100, 26104, 26105, 26107 to 26115, 26200 to 26204

This photograph is displayed courtesy of the HMRS (Historical Model Railway Society) and copies can be ordered directly from them using the link HERE, quoting reference AEL222.

Robert Ferris