LMS Route: Birmingham New Street to Tamworth
LMS Route: Nuneaton to Birmingham New Street
Bromford Bridge Station: mrbb643
Ex-LMS Garratt 2-6-0+0-6-2 No 47972 is seen near Bromford
Bridge station at the head of a down Class J mineral train approaching Washwood
Heath sidings on 22nd May 1952. Built by Beyer Peacock in September 1930 No
47972 remained in service until April 1957 when it was withdrawn from Hasland
shed to be scrapped in May 1957 by Crewe works. With the Board of the LMS
dominated by former Midland Railway Directors it was no surprise that the LMS
pursued the Midland's 'small engine policy'. This blinkered approach resulted
in most of the Toton to Brent coal trains being double-headed by 0-6-0
locomotives. In the late 1920s with the impact of the post 'Great War'
recession forcing the company to look to making savings on the cost of labour
the LMS explored other options.
In 1925 the LNER had introduced a solitary member of the
Class U1 2-8-0+0-8-2 Garratt built by Beyer Peacock for banking work. The LMS
followed suit and in 1927 ordered an initial three locomotives from Beyer
Peacock and Company. Following the order of the three locomotives, the
remaining 30 were built between August and November 1930. All were built with
straight sided bunkers but from 1931 the 1930 locomotives and the last of the
1927 trio were fitted with revolving coal bunkers. These were conical in shape
and were revolved or oscillated by means of a small two-cylinder steam engine.
The revolving bunkers prevented coal dust from entering the cab and the
oscillation facility made them self-trimming.
Instead of allowing Beyer Peacock to use their own proven
design of fittings on the locomotives, Derby design office insisted on fitting
their own Midland derived fittings. Many of the Midland designed fittings
performed poorly in particular their standard axle boxes which frequently
overheated on the LMS Class 4F 0-6-0s which had lighter axle loadings.
Ultimately this was their principal weakness, resulting in the design not being
successful as they were always heavy on coal and maintenance. In fact their
consumption of coal on the Toton to Brent trips was equal to that used by a
pair of LMS 4F 0-6-0s but whereas two 4Fs had two firemen the Garratts''s had
only one fireman.