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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

GWR Route: North Warwickshire Line

Tyseley Shed: gwrt359

GWR 0-6-0PT No 7758, a class 57xx full-cab locomotive, is seen on shed with the carriage sidings in the background in June 1934

Great Western Railway 57xx class 0-6-0PT No 8784 is seen on shed with the Tyseley carriage sidings in the background in June 1934. No 8784 was built in January 1934 at Swindon works as part of lot 282. Designed in 1929 as replacements for their ageing fleet of Victorian outside-frame shunting locomotives (including a collection in varying condition inherited from the absorbed companies in 1923), the 57xx class was based on the successful 2721 class 0-6-0 saddle tanks. The 2721 class locomotives had been built around the turn of the century, but when fitted with belpaire fireboxes shortly after, the saddle tanks were replaced with 1,200 gallon capacity pannier tanks due to the rectangular shape of the new firebox. It was found that pannier tanks reduced the centre of gravity of the locomotives giving greater stability, which allowed them to safely operate at greater speeds. The 57xx class had various improvements over their predecessors including; enclosed cabs, enlarged bunkers and a boiler which operated at 200lb pressure, resulting in a tractive effort at 85% of 22,515 lbs (Power group C), while a maximum axle weight of 16 tons 15 cwt, restricted the locomotive to all main and some branch lines (route colour Blue). See Engine Map for more details of the Great Western Railway locomotive classification system.

Eventually 863 of the 57xx class locomotives were built between 1929 and 1950, with 250 built by various external British locomotive works with money from the Government's Development (Loan Guarantees and Grants) Act of 1929. In 1933, minor amendments to the cab and a different (PJ class) boiler resulted in a new diagram number (B70) being issued for locomotives built after that date and these were sometimes referred to as the 8750 class. From March 1936 new construction had small deflector plates added to prevent the steam from the whistles obscuring the cab windows and in 1938 a larger version of the deflector plate was introduced with existing pannier locomotives also modified. No 8784 was initially allocated to Tyseley Shed (TYS) and was known to have been allocated there at nationalisation. By 1956, diesel shunting engines had usurped the 57xx class locomotives from their traditional duties and many were withdrawn or relocated. No 8784 remained in service until April 1962 when it was withdrawn from Court Sart shed in Neath to be scrapped in September 1962 by the Central Wagon Company of Ince.

Robert Ferris