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GWR Route: North Warwickshire Line

Wood End Platform: gwrwe2889

BR built 4-6-0 '6959' class No 7915 'Mere Hall' on a local passenger service 25th August 1964

British Railways 4-6-0 '6959' (Modified Hall) class No 7915 ‘Mere Hall’ approaches a deserted Wood End Station with the Snow Hill (dep 5:45pm) to Evesham local passenger service on Tuesday 25th August 1964. The building on the sky line is the Royal Oak Inn (now ‘The Warwickshire Lad’ Public House) on Broad Lane (see map 'gwrwe2857').

No 7915 was built at Swindon Works in March 1950 as part of lot 308. The 49xx (Hall) class locomotives first introduced in 1924 had proved to be very successful mixed traffic locomotives with 259 built, but following the appointment of Mr Hawksworth as Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Great Western Railway in 1941, the traditional locomotive designs which had served the company for over forty years were radically overhauled to take advantage of the changes in manufacturing technology that had been introduced during the Second World War. The design was simplified with full length plate frames and more parts were now fabricated instead of cast. This particularly effected the smokebox saddle and bogie construction. In addition, issues such as coal quality and locomotive maintenance were addressed resulting in; outside steam pipes, larger superheaters, higher boiler temperature and mechanical lubrication. A total of seventy-one of these modified Hall class locomotives were built between 1944 and 1950, bringing the total number of Hall class locomotives to 330. Initially, No 7915 was one of eight Hall class locomotives allocated to Stafford Road Shed (84A) near Wolverhampton. In March 1959, No 7915 was one of seventeen Hall class locomotives allocated to Oxley Shed (84B) north of Wolverhampton. In May 1965, No 7915 was one of eight Hall class locomotives allocated to Tyseley Shed (2A), being withdrawn from there in the October and sent for disposal by J Cashmore of Great Bridge in January 1966.

The leading coach is ganged corridor, Brake Composite Coach No W7853W. This was a 64 feet long Hawksworth design (diagram E164) built after nationalisation in 1950 at Swindon Works under carriage lot 1738. The coach had four third class and two first class compartments and a small Guard / luggage area. A total of forty-four diagram E164 coaches were built as listed in the table below:

Lot No Date Built Quantity Running Nos Comments
1690 1948 14 7372 to 7385 7372 and 7377 used for Royal Train and now both preserved
7374, 7375 and 7376 converted to Slip coaches in 1958
1705 1948 10 7838 to 7847 A further twenty were cancelled
1738 1950 20 7848 to 7867  

Robert Ferris