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Bournville Shed

LMS Route: Bournville to Birmingham New Street

Why the shed was built
In 1885 a new section of main line, known as the Stirchley Street and Bournville to Kings Norton Deviation, was opened as part of a major improvement of the Midland Railway route from Derby to Bristol, allowing trains to pass through Birmingham instead of having to change engines and reverse direction. In 1892 three further improvements were made. Birmingham Central Goods Depot was completed, the Lifford Loop was opened, and the line between Kings Norton and Northfield was quadrupled, the quadrupling being extended to Halesowen Junction in 1894. A new engine shed was then opened at Bournville, alongside the realigned main line, in 1895. The surrounding area, then in Worcestershire, was being rapidly developed, and would become part of an expanded Birmingham in 1911. The Midland Railway wanted to be part of this expansion.

Description
Bournville shed was a standard Midland roundhouse equipped with a 50 foot turntable, water tank and sand oven. An embanked coal stage, two water cranes and ash disposal facilities were provided in the yard, plus the usual disposal sidings. It was given an allocation of approximately twenty-five locomotives, outstationed from Saltley shed. In 1935 it was given the code 21B and designated a "garage" of Saltley. This meant it had a permanent allocation but was only responsible for maintenance and running repairs. Saltley, the concentration depot, undertook more time consuming repairs. The company's works, such as Derby, remained responsible for major overhauls. The shed's facilities were adequate enough for its duties and no further investment was made in it, except for the fitting of a 57 foot turntable circa 1948, and the repair and replacement of the same after an accident in 1956.

Traffic
Freight traffic was guaranteed from Cadburys, which had built its own private railway system, and the new Central Goods Station was connected not only to the south but to the north as well, by means of the Lifford Loop Line, completed in 1892. Suburban services from Birmingham New Street reached Kings Norton via both Camp Hill and Bournville lines. The Lifford Loop allowed circular services to operate via Bournville and Camp Hill. Services on the Halesowen Joint Line, opened in 1883, were another Bournville responsibility. The shed also provided engines for main line stopping services to Worcester, Gloucester and Bristol, and for the branch line from Barnt Green to Ashchurch, sometimes known as the Gloucester Loop. Contrary to the shed's rather parochial image, double home workings to London and other distant places were operated in the early years, obliging the engine's crew to sleep away from home and family. A parliamentary act of 1919, limiting the hours men could work, made the continuation of these services uneconomic.

Decline
Hawkins & Reeve, in their book LMS Engine Sheds Volume Two - The Midland Railway, claim that the accommodation was more than adequate and the expected increase in traffic, for which the shed was to be responsible, never fully materialized. Road transport competed too effectively. Cheap and frequent electric trams appeared in the early 1900s, and cars, buses and lorries made further inroads into railway traffic in the inter war years, helped along by road improvement schemes. In January 1941 the Camp Hill line stations were closed and the circular service discontinued. In 1956 an engine fell into the turntable pit, making the shed dependent on Saltley and Bromsgrove for boiler washouts. The turntable was repaired and reinstated, but despite this investment, the shed was officially closed on 14th February 1960. The last locomotive officially to leave the shed whilst still in service was 5MT 4-6-0 No 44843. Demolition of the buildings began in November 1961 and a new use for the site was found soon afterwards.

Allocations
Bournville was a haven for veteran Kirtley double framed 2-4-0s after the great war, judging by the photos taken in 1919,1922 and 1935. By the thirties the depot had become something of a backwater, notable for its allocation of similarly veteran Kirtley double-framed 0-6-0s, which were used on the Halesowen Joint Line. In 1945 there were still six of these, all rebuilds to power class 2F. For those interested they were Nos 22630, 22818, 22834, 22846, 22853, 22863. The first three had round top boilers, the others had Belpaire boilers. The allocation on 31st December 1947, the eve of nationalisation, was as follows:

3MT 2-6-2T - 105, 162, 168, 173, 179
2P 4-4-0 - 439, 517
4P 4-4-0 - 917, 934, 1061, 1064, 1073
4MT 2-6-4T - 2327, 2338, 2339, 2342, 2373
3F 0-6-0 - 3355, 3359, 3562, 3583, 3668, 3675, 3687
4F 0-6-0 - 3968, 4138, 4289, 4333
2F 0-6-0 - 22630, 22846, 22863, 22924, 22953, 22955

There were thirty-four altogether, sixteen of them being former Midland Railway engines. By 1950 traffic may have temporarily increased, as no less than four 5MT 4-6-0s were on the allocation, but it was not to last. By March 1959 there were only twenty-one engines allocated, thirteen of which were former Midland ones. Of those on the 1947 list, seven of the former Midland ones were still there. The full list for 21st March 1959, less than a year before closure, is as follows:

2P 4-4-0 - 40439, 40568
4MT 2-6-0 - 43012, 43027, 43033, 43040
3F 0-6-0 - 43263, 43359, 43521, 43523, 43583, 43668, 43675, 43687
4F 0-6-0 - 43855, 44516, 44571
5MT 4-6-0 - 44981
2F 0-6-0 - 58138, 58143, 58167

Stored engines
The shed's sidings were used to store redundant engines as long ago as 1935, as evidenced by several of the photographs. Shortly before closure, the sidings were being put to the same use. There were 16 engines stored outside in the yard in 1959, all officially allocated to either Bournville or Saltley. They were as follows:

3MT 2-6-2T - 40012, 40115
2P 4-4-0 - 40439, 40443, 40511, 40568
3F 0-6-0 - 43490, 43675, 43693
4F 0-6-0 - 43858, 44084, 44227, 44406, 44515
2F 0-6-0 - 58168, 58261

Those reprieved and reallocated were 40012, 40115, 40439, 40443, 40511. The others were condemned either shortly before or after the shed closed. They were cut up by Doncaster and Derby works in 1960, except for 58261, which was cut up at Gorton works.

Photographs
The earliest one looks official, with two Johnson engines posed with staff outside the shed when it was new in the 1890s. The next seven were taken on two Sundays, one in 1919 and the other in 1922. Everything looks very clean and ordered in them. High standards were obviously being maintained, despite the loss of manpower during the war. The photographers seem to have been stimulated into action in 1935. Perhaps it was the sense that things were changing as Stanier's radical new designs appeared, with the likelihood that older designs would be withdrawn to make way for them. It was probably then that Bournville acquired its reputation for accommodating displaced engines on its underused disposal sidings. The other draw was probably the allocation of elderly double framed engines, a draw that must have intensified after the second war when it was realized that some were still extant. By the fifties they were gone, and the surviving Johnson 2Fs became the veterans that attracted photographers.

Why Sundays?
Most of the close ups on shed were taken at weekends, especially on Sundays. The reasons are not hard to find. Like everybody else amateur photographers would have had to work for a living. The weekends, especially Sundays, were their time off, giving them a chance to practice their hobby. There were also usually more engines to be seen on shed than during the week. The lull in economic activity meant that many of them, usually kept continuously in steam during the week, could be given time consuming maintenance and running repairs at their home shed. As each locomotive came off its last weekday turn, its fire would be allowed to die down, leaving just enough steam for shed staff to dispose of it under its own power. The fire would be dropped, ashpan emptied of ash, smokebox emptied of char, tank filled with water and tender topped with coal. Once in the shed, the boiler was allowed to cool until it could be washed out and any scale removed. If the bay was in demand, the serviced engine would be shunted onto a disposal road in the yard and left there until needed. Sundays were, therefore, a good day to visit the shed. Both shed and disposal sidings were full of engines at rest, waiting to be captured on camera for posterity.

Acknowledgments
Although I personally remember Bournville shed as it was in the late fifties, when I was a trainspotter, I never got to tour the shed properly, as the foreman was a very strict man who did not tolerate young trespassers. I did photograph the engines in store, but my efforts were nowhere near good enough for subsequent publication. At a much later date I did family history as a hobby and found to my surprise that my great-grandfather had been an engine driver at the shed, living nearby and working there until he retired in 1918. Discovering all the photos on Mike's site brought memories back and I took him up on his suggestion that I write captions for them. I enjoyed writing them and trust my efforts are of interest to others. I am not an original researcher, so am indebted to numerous books and a few relevant websites for much of the content of both captions and the foregoing preamble. For those interested, many now out of print books, describing and illustrating former Midland Railway lines and installations in the Birmingham area, can still be found advertised for sale on the internet. I've striven to present information gleaned from them accurately, hopefully in clear and digestible form. The books of Essery and Jenkinson in particular deserve mention, as they were particularly helpful in unraveling the complicated rebuilding history of many Midland Railway engines.

John Dews

Bournville Station (14) Bournville Shed (60)

Select an image below to view the larger version with accompanying text:

Johnson 2-4-0 and 4-2-2 engines stand outside the new shed at Bournville circa 1895
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Leicester Library
Johnson 2-4-0 and 4-2-2 engines stand outside the new shed at Bournville circa 1895
Midland Railway engines photographed inside Bournville shed on Sunday 31st August 1919
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Midland Railway engines photographed inside Bournville shed on Sunday 31st August 1919
Midland Railway Johnson class 1 0-6-0T No 1741 photographed inside Bournville shed on Sunday 31st August 1919
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Midland Railway Johnson class 1 0-6-0T No 1741 photographed inside Bournville shed on Sunday 31st August 1919
Midland Railway 2F 0-6-0 No 3425 standing near the water column at Bournville on Sunday 31st August 1919
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Midland Railway 2F 0-6-0 No 3425 stands near the water column at Bournville on Sunday 31st August 1919
Close up to show the dress of a MR fireman in 1919
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Close up to show the dress of a MR fireman in 1919

Midland Railway 3F 0-6-0 No 3531 photographed at Bournville on Sunday 31st August 1919
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Midland Railway 3F 0-6-0 No 3531 photographed at Bournville on Sunday 31st August 1919
Midland Railway 3F 0-6-0 No 3454 was parked in a siding at Bournville on Sunday 9th April 1922
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Midland Railway 3F 0-6-0 No 3454 was parked in a siding at Bournville on Sunday 9th April 1922
Midland Railway 1P 0-4-4T No 1327, bunker filled with coal for its next trip, stands in a siding at Bournville on Sunday 9th April 1922
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Midland Railway 1P 0-4-4T No 1327, bunker filled with coal for its next trip, stands in a siding at Bournville on Sunday 9th April 1922
Midland Railway class 1 2-4-0 No 25, clearly still in use, photographed at Bournville on Sunday 9th April 1922
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Midland Railway class 1 2-4-0 No 25, clearly still in use, photographed at Bournville on Sunday 9th April 1922
LMSR 1P 2-4-0 No 20002 photographed near the shed entrance at Bournville on Saturday 2nd March 1935
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HC Casserley
LMSR 1P 2-4-0 No 20002 photographed near the shed entrance at Bournville on Saturday 2nd March 1935

LMSR 1P 2-4-0 No 20002 photographed outside the shed at Bournville on Saturday 2nd March 1935
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HC Casserley
LMSR 1P 2-4-0 No 20002 photographed outside the shed at Bournville on Saturday 2nd March 1935
LMSR 2F 0-6-0 No 2603 photographed while taking on water at Bournville in March 1935
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HC Casserley
LMSR 2F 0-6-0 No 2603 photographed while taking on water at Bournville in March 1935
LMSR 4F 4-6-0s stand out of use behind Bournville shed on Sunday 17th March 1935
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WA Camwell
LMSR 4F 4-6-0s stand out of use behind Bournville shed on Sunday 17th March 1935
LMSR 2P 4-4-2T No 2099 is fully coaled up and in steam at Bournville on Wednesday 17th July 1935
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Anon
LMSR 2P 4-4-2T No 2099 is fully coaled up and in steam at Bournville on Wednesday 17th July 1935
LMSR 2P 4-4-2T No 2106 photographed inside the roundhouse at Bournville on Saturday 15th June 1935
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LMSR 2P 4-4-2T No 2106 photographed inside the roundhouse at Bournville on Saturday 15th June 1935

LMSR 2P 4-4-2T No 2099 seen side on inside the roundhouse at Bournville on Saturday 15th June 1935
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LMSR 2P 4-4-2T No 2099 seen side on inside the roundhouse at Bournville on Saturday 15th June 1935
LMSR 3P 0-6-4T No 2037 stands inside the roundhouse at Bournville on Saturday 15th June 1935
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LMSR 3P 0-6-4T No 2037 stands inside the roundhouse at Bournville on Saturday 15th June 1935
LMS Stanier 3MT 2-6-2T No 91 stands outside the shed
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LMSR 3MT 2-6-2T No 91 seen standing in the yard at Bournville, looking very new, on Saturday 15 June 1935
LMSR 3P 0-6-4T No 2036 was parked in a siding at Bournville on Saturday 15th June 1935
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LMSR 3P 0-6-4T No 2036 was parked in a siding at Bournville on Saturday 15th June 1935
LMSR 3P 0-6-4T No 2033 stands with other engines in a siding alongside the shed at Bournville on Saturday 15th June 1935
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LMSR 3P 0-6-4T No 2033 stands with other engines in a siding alongside the shed at Bournville on Saturday 15th June 1935

LMSR 3P 0-6-4T No 2015 stands with other engines in a siding alongside the shed at Bournville on Saturday 15th June 1935
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LMSR 3P 0-6-4T No 2015 stands with other engines in a siding alongside the shed at Bournville on Saturday 15th June 1935
LMSR 3P 0-6-4T No 2014 stands on a siding next to allotments on Saturday 15th June 1935
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LMSR 3P 0-6-4T No 2014 stands on a siding next to allotments on Saturday 15th June 1935
LMSR "ancient and modern", old 1F 0-6-0 No 22630 and new 4MT 2-6-4T No 2556, contrast strongly in the roundhouse at Bournville in August 1936
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W Potter
LMSR outside framed veteran No 22630 is 66 years older than No 2556, stabled nearby in the roundhouse at Bournville, in August 1936
Bournville shed and coaling stage photographed in September 1936
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W Potter
Bournville shed and coaling stage photographed in September 1936
Bournville shed's ash disposal facilities are seen in a view taken in September 1936
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W Potter
Bournville shed's ash disposal facilities are seen in a view taken in September 1936

LMSR 2P 4-4-0 No 369 is seen taking on water at Bournville shed on a summer's day in 1938
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LMSR 2P 4-4-0 No 369 takes on water at Bournville shed on a summer's day in 1938
The coaling stage at Bournville on a summer's day in 1938
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The coaling stage at Bournville on a summer's day in 1938
View of the 'throat' to Bournville shed and the sidings that led to the coaling hole, water column and disposal road
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Hawkins & Greaves
View of the 'throat' to Bournville shed and the sidings that led to the coaling hole, water column and disposal road
A 1939 track plan showing the layout to the shed, coaling, watering and disposal facilities
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Hawkins & Greaves
A 1939 track plan showing the layout to the shed, coaling, watering and disposal facilities
Ex-MR 2F 0-6-0 Nos 22630 and 22846 on shed
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NS Eagles
LMSR duplicate list veterans photographed together in the yard at Bournville on Sunday 29th June 1947

LMSR 2F 0-6-0 No 22846 photographed behind the coal stage embankment at Bournville on Sunday 27 July 1947
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LMSR 2F 0-6-0 No 22846 photographed behind the coal stage embankment at Bournville on Sunday 27 July 1947
A line of locomotive coal wagons standing on the embankment
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A line of locomotive coal wagons standing on the embankment
LMSR 2F 0-6-0 No 22863 photographed at the back of the shed on Sunday 27th July 1947
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LMSR 2F 0-6-0 No 22863 photographed at the back of the shed on Sunday 27th July 1947
LMSR engines seen in the roundhouse at Bournville on a sunny Sunday in August 1947
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JV Skirrow
LMSR engines seen in the roundhouse at Bournville on a sunny Sunday in August 1947
Former LMSR 3MT 2-6-2T No 168 seen parked at the back of Bournville shed on Sunday 4th July 1948
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DJ Norton
Former LMSR 3MT 2-6-2T No.168 seen parked at the back of Bournville shed on Sunday 4th July 1948

Former LMSR 2F 0-6-0 No 22846 photographed at the back of the yard at Bournville on Sunday 1st May 1949
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DJ Norton
Former LMSR 2F 0-6-0 No 22846 photographed at the back of the yard at Bournville on Sunday 1st May 1949
British Railways 2F 0-6-0 No 58126 departing from its home shed on Monday 27th April 1953
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DJ Norton
British Railways 2F 0-6-0 No 58126 departing from its home shed on Monday 27th April 1953
British Railways 5MT 4-6-0 No 44813 at the head of at least eleven coaches heads southwards past Bournville shed on Monday 5th September 1955
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DJ Norton
British Railways 5MT 4-6-0 No 44813 at the head of at least eleven coaches heads southwards past Bournville shed on Monday 5th September 1955
British Railways 5MT 4-6-0 No. 45297 passes Bournville shed as it heads southwards on the cold morning of Sunday 19th February 1956
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DJ Norton
British Railways 5MT 4-6-0 No. 45297 passes Bournville shed as it heads southwards on the cold morning of Sunday 19th February 1956
Panoramic view in colour of the shed and yard seen on Sunday 11th March 1956
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DJ Norton
Panoramic view in colour of the shed and yard seen on Sunday 11th March 1956

British Railways 2F 0-6-0 No 58143 is seen entering the roundhouse at Bournville on Sunday 6th May 1956
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DJ Norton
British Railways 2F 0-6-0 No 58143 is seen entering the roundhouse at Bournville on Sunday 6th May 1956
Bournville Signal Box in colour seen from the access path to the engine shed on Wednesday 6th June 1956
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DJ Norton
Bournville Signal Box in colour seen from the access path to the engine shed on Wednesday 6th June 1956
British Railways 2F 0-6-0 No 58167 stands on a road behind the coaling stage at Bournville on Sunday 17th February 1957
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DJ Norton
British Railways 2F 0-6-0 No 58167 stands on a road behind the coaling stage at Bournville on Sunday 17th February 1957
Diverging tracks serving the shed and yard at Bournville were photographed from a northbound train on Saturday 1st June 1957
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NE Preedy
Diverging tracks serving the shed and yard at Bournville were photographed from a northbound train on Saturday 1st June 1957
Coal stacks and coaling stage at Bournville were photographed from a northbound train on Saturday 1st June 1957
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NE Preedy
Coal stacks and coaling stage at Bournville were photographed from a northbound train on Saturday 1st June 1957

Locomotives standing near to the shed building at Bournville were photographed from a northbound train on Saturday 1st June 1957
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NE Preedy
Locomotives standing near to the shed building at Bournville were photographed from a northbound train on Saturday 1st June 1957
British Railways Jubilee class No 45690 Leander seen heading south past Bournville shed in an undated photo from the 1950s
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D Johnson
British Railways Jubilee class No 45690 Leander seen heading south past Bournville shed in an undated photo from the 1950s
Close up showing the approach road to the roundhouses and the sidings storing wagons on the right
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D Johnson
Close up showing the approach road to the roundhouses and the sidings storing wagons on the right
Close up of ex-LMS 4-6-0 Jubilee  No 45690  'Leander' at the head of a Bristol express
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D Johnson
Close up of ex-LMS 4-6-0 Jubilee No 45690 'Leander' at the head of a Bristol express
Different types of engine seen standing in adjacent bays in the roundhouse in the 1950s
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Anon
Different types of engine seen standing in adjacent bays in the roundhouse in the 1950s

British Railways 3F 0-6-0s standing around the turntable at Bournville on Sunday 21st December 1958
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DJ Norton
British Railways 3F 0-6-0s standing around the turntable at Bournville on Sunday 21st December 1958
A redundant water column seen on Sunday 29th May 1960
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DJ Norton
A redundant water column seen on Sunday 29th May 1960
An unidentified British Railways 4F 0-6-0 is shunting wagons at the closed Bournville engine shed site on Wednesday 5th July 1961
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DJ Norton
An unidentified British Railways 4F 0-6-0 is shunting wagons at the closed Bournville engine shed site on Wednesday 5th July 1961
The tall chimney at the back of the shed was photographed on Friday 3rd November 1961
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DJ Norton
The tall chimney at the back of the shed was photographed on Friday 3rd November 1961
View of the interior of the shed after closure and removal of turntable taken on Friday 3rd November 1961
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DJ Norton
View of the interior of the shed after closure and removal of turntable taken on Friday 3rd November 1961

View of the locomotive entrance after closure and removal of the railway track taken on Friday 3rd November 1961
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DJ Norton
View of the locomotive entrance after closure and removal of the railway track taken on Friday 3rd November 1961
View of the locomotive shed and yard after closure and removal of the railway track taken on Friday 3rd November 1961
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DJ Norton
View of the locomotive shed and yard after closure and removal of the railway track taken on Friday 3rd November 1961
View of the shed and yard with demolition in progress taken on Sunday 19th November 1961
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DJ Norton
View of the shed and yard with demolition in progress taken on Sunday 19th November 1961
View of the former shed site showing that the buildings had been demolished, taken on Thursday 8th March 1962
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DJ Norton
View of the former shed site showing that the buildings had been demolished, taken on Thursday 8th March 1962
MR 1F 0-6-0T half-cab stands inside the shed
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DJ Norton
View of the site showing new buildings under construction, taken on Saturday 20th April 1963

The LMS and its successor, British Railways, undertook to film various aspects of operating steam locomotives and other railway operations. We have provided below links to some of the films related to shed operation that we know exist. Films on other aspects of railway operations can be viewed via our Video and Film Clip section.

"Wash and Brush Up" 1953
Shows the procedures that a steam engine goes through as part of its regular maintenance cycle. The locomotive being featured in the film is a British Railways Standard Class 5MT 4-6-0 No 73020 at 6D Chester (Midland shed. (25 minutes 19 seconds)

LMS On the Shed - Part One of Two
Various shots of an engine being prepared and serviced ready for its next trip. Includes actions and responsibilities of crew. (9 minutes 44 seconds)

LMS On the Shed - Part Two of Two
Various shots of an engine being prepared and serviced ready for its next trip. Includes actions and responsibilities of crew. (9 minutes 31 seconds)

Bournville Station (14) Bournville Shed (60)