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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

GWR Route: North Warwickshire Line

Birmingham Snow Hill Station: gwrbsh1791

Great Western Railway 39xx class 2-6-2T No 3916 on the up through main line at the south end of Snow Hill Station in 1909

Great Western Railway 39xx class 2-6-2T No 3916 on the up through main line at the south end of Snow Hill Station in 1909. The locomotive is adjacent to the tunnel entrance under where the new station booking hall will be built as part of the station reconstruction. Behind the locomotive milk churns can be seen standing on the up platform. When the station was completed a short spur siding from the up relief platform No 12 line ran to a loading platform adjacent to the tunnel entrance, which was used for milk, fish, cattle and horse traffic. No 3916 was built as Dean Goods 0-6-0 tender locomotive No 2494 in August 1896 and converted to a tender locomotive in July 1908. At this time there was a demand for more powerful suburban locomotives especially in Birmingham following the opening of the North Warwickshire Line. With the Swindon Works machine shops operating at full capacity, these rebuilds used all the principle parts of twenty surplus Dean Goods locomotives on new frames with a Churchward standard No 5 boiler and two 750 gallon side tanks to produce these unusual looking prairie tank conversions.

The locomotive had inside cylinders and the large unsightly hole in the side tank gave access to the motion for oiling. The boiler operated at a pressure of 200 lbs producing a tractive effort at 85% of 20,155 lb and these locomotives were classified in power group B. The maximum axle weight was 17 tons 4 cwt restricting the locomotives to main lines and some branch lines (colour code – Blue). All the conversions were built without superheaters, but No 3916 had one fitted in July 1914. Other modifications included an enlarging of the rear bunker to increase coal capacity around 1920 and fitting of Automatic Train Control (ATC) around 1931. These locomotives were designed for the Birmingham suburban traffic and No 3916 was known to have been allocated to Tyseley shed (TYS) in May 1922. By 1929 most had been displaced by the new 2-6-2T locomotives and in January 1934 No 3916 was allocated at Landore shed (LDR) in south Wales and was being utilised on local freight services. No 3916 was withdrawn from Landore shed in November 1934.

Robert Ferris