GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton
Olton Station: gwro1584
Ex-Great Western Railway 2-6-2T 5101 class No 4158 crosses
the Richmond Road plate girder bridge as it leaves the Relief Down platform at
Olton station at 8:46 am on Saturday 9th September 1963 on the Solihull (8.42
am) to Handsworth via Birmingham Snow Hill. The train consisted of six corridor
coaches in British Rail maroon livery. This large prairie locomotive No 4158
was built in August 1947 by Swindon works as part of Lot 361 and at
nationalisation, in December 1947 was known to have been allocated to Severn
Tunnel Junction shed (STJ). No 4158 was to remain in service until June 1965
when it was withdrawn from 2A Tyseley shed.
The 5101 class introduced in 1929 was an updated version of
the 31xx (later 51xx) class, the first of which had been built in 1903.
Externally the 5101 class differed from their predecessors by having curved
drop ends, flanged motion plate and outside steam pipes. The cab roof was
lowered and the coal bunker extended to hold four tons. The water tank capacity
remained the same at 2,000 gallons. The class were adorned with copper capped
chimneys and brass safety valves. The superheated standard No 2 long coned
boiler operating at 200 lbs produced a tractive effort at 85% of 24,300lb,
placing the locomotive in power class D. The maximum axle weight was 17 tons,
12 cwt, which limited the locomotives to main lines and some branch lines
(Route colour Blue). For more details of the Great Western Railway
classification system see Engine Map.
The power, speed and particularly the acceleration of these locomotives made
them ideal for the Midlands suburban passenger duties where there was a
requirement for frequent stops with heavy loads. As a result many of the 5101
class were allocated to the Wolverhampton division, but their useful life was
curtailed by the introduction of DMUs in the late 1950s.