GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton
Bentley Heath Crossing: gwrbh1600
Ex Great Western Railway 4-6-0 4073 or Castle
class No 5040 Stokesay Castle on a London bound express about to pass under the
footbridge and cross the level crossing on the Up main line at Bentley Heath on
5th July 1959. The Great Western Railway standard type 28b Signal Box opened in
1932 can be seen between the footbridge and level crossing. In the distance is
the Knowle and Dorridge North Goods Yard and Shed, which were also built in
1932 during the quadrupling of the line, to replace the original goods
facilities at the south end of that station. In the foreground is one of the
pair of fast facing crossovers between relief and main lines. These were both
taken out of use on 17th September 1961, but the Up facing crossover was
reinstated a week later, on 24th September 1961 and remained until the relief
lines were completely removed on 27th February 1968. The signals for the Down
crossover can be seen under the footbridge.
Adjacent to this is the buffer stop of the Up Goods Line,
which ran parallel to the Up Main line as far as the north end of Knowle and
Dorridge Station. Locomotive No 5040 was built at Swindon Works as part of lot
296 in June 1935. This locomotive was initially allocated to Old Oak Common
shed (PND), which serviced engines for the Great Western Railway's Paddington
terminus in London and would have handled crack express services to the West
Country, South Wales and the Northern route along the Birmingham main line.
This locomotive was also known to have been allocated there both in January
1938 and December 1947 prior to nationalisation. Few modifications appear to
have been made to this locomotive during its lifetime and although some
internal draughting modifications were made by British Rail to improve running
when using poor quality coal, the locomotive did not receive a double chimney.
No 5040 was finally withdrawn in October 1963 from St Philips Marsh shed (82B)
in Bristol having travelled 1,414,142 miles and was scrapped by Coopers Metals
Ltd at Sharpness.