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LMS Route: Rugby to Wolverhampton

Stechford: lnwrstfd2842a

Close up showing Stechford Frame which controlled access to and from each of Stechford's down sidings ten roads

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'.