LMS Route: Rugby to Wolverhampton
Close up of image 'lnwrstfd2842' showing Stechford Frame
which controlled access to and from each of Stechford's down sidings ten roads.
The steepness of the incline from the hump can be seen in this view. The hump
was used in 'shunting by gravity' a method used to get wagons onto sidings. The
wagons would be uncoupled from the loco which would continue to reverse at a
slow walking pace allowing each wagon to move over the apex of the hump and
then roll on down the siding. A shunter had to run alongside the wagon and
apply the brakes to avoid it crashing into the buffers or into other stock on
the siding. One dodge was to push the pole under the solebar of the wagon and
above the hand brake handle and push down until his feet left the ground.
Riding the pole in this way was dangerous enough but was even more so if the
man sat on the pole as when he jumped down it would be behind him and a stumble
could result in a very nasty accident.
Reg Instone of the LNWR Society writes 'The provision of
the Down Loop and additional sidings was authorised by the LNWR Passenger
Traffic Committee in August 1912 (minute 12661), and I think it was completed
in late February 1913. The addition of Stechford shunting hump was authorised
in July 1913 (minute 12818) and a plan showing a new ground frame and hut was
dated August 1913. To allow the points to be switched in time for each cut to
go into the correct siding, they needed to be worked from a central lever frame
rather by individual hand levers at each point. The LNWR provided a small
ground frame with 9 levers and an 8ft x 8ft hut for the man operating it, and
another plan states "work complete 13.4.14". This was replaced by the flat-roof
BR type 15 structure shown in the photo, which had a new standard lever frame
of 10 levers, in about 1960 - maybe a year or two earlier'.
Brian Hayes also of the LNWR Society writes 'Having acted
as Relief Station Master at Stechford Station, there are many aspects of freght
and train operation which come to mind. Hump shunting, even over a knuckle, is
completely different from 'Fly Shunting'. The comment on the slow movement by
the shunting engine is accurate, but the layout of the yard still required the
shunters to be very agile in applying the brakes to the descending wagons and
the movement of any necessary points. Others had the road number, chalked on
the wagon front before coming over the hump. Some small marshalling yards used
loud hailers to inform the shunters and brakesmen as to which road a wagon
required to roll'.