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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Greaves Sidings: gwrgs3908

Ex-GWR 4-6-0 Hall class No 4954 ‘Plaish Hall’ hauls an express on the down main line past the Harbury Cement Works

Ex-Great Western Railway 4-6-0 49xx (Hall) class No 4954 ‘Plaish Hall’ hauls a lengthy express on the down main line past the Harbury Cement Works in April 1958. The Signalman in the Greaves Sidings Signal Box (on the left) was required to suspend shunting work in the sidings until any main line traffic had past. Here an ex Great Western Railway 2-6-2T prairie tank locomotive can be seen waiting in the down siding, where wagons for the Cement Works were exchanged, while in the Cement Works sidings is one of the works locomotives – Peckett 0-4-0ST No 9 ‘Whitby’.

Hall class locomotive No 4954 was built in September 1929 at Swindon Works as part of lot 254. The Hall class locomotives were a development of the two cylinder express passenger Saint class locomotives. An existing locomotive, ‘Saint Martin’ was successfully modified in 1924 with six foot diameter driving wheels instead of its original 6 foot, 8 inch diameter wheels. With the same standard No 1 boiler as the Saint class, it developed a tractive effort at 85% of 27,275 lb, which classified them in power group D and their maximum axle weight was 18 tons, 9 cwt, which limited them to main lines and some branch lines (Route code - Red). See the engine map for more details of Great Western Railway'Railway’ss locomotive classification system. Despite this route limitation, the design proved to be extremely successful and the locomotives were found to be equally at home hauling heavy freight trains or fast express services. As a result, by August 1939 there were one hundred and eighty-six 49xx locomotives distributed across the Great Western Railway.

Locomotive No 4954 was originally allocated to Stafford Road Shed (SRD) near Wolverhampton. The locomotive subsequently moved to various South western Sheds after 1934, returning to Didcot Shed (81E) in April 1954. In October 1961, No 4954 transferred to Tyseley Shed (84E), until finally moving to Oxley Shed (2B) in June 1964 from where No 4954 was withdrawn for disposal in November 1964 and sold for scrap to J Cashmore of Great Bridge.

Robert Ferris