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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Hatton Bank: gwrhb2675

Ex-LMS 4-6-0 Class 5 No 45188 battles up Hatton bank with a heavy northbound freight service on 22nd April 1965

Great Western Railway 0-6-0PT 655 class pannier No 1748 ascends Hatton Bank on the Down Main Line with a class K freight train (see Headcodes) in the Summer of 1939. In the rear the smoke from the Banking Engine (a 51xx class prairie) can be seen. Most of the wagons marshalled at the front of the train appear to be a mixture of empty private owner open wagons, while the loaded wagons are located towards the rear of the train.

No 1748 was built in July 1892 at the Great Western Railway’s Stafford Road Works at Wolverhampton as part of lot A3. The locomotive started as a 0-6-0 Saddle tank with a boiler operating pressure of 140lbs giving a tractive effort at 85% of 15,285lb. In this format the locomotive had a 1,000 gallon saddle tank and the maximum axle weight was 13tons, 18cwt. In October 1920 a larger P class boiler operating at 150lb was fitted and this increased the tractive effort at 85% to 15,935lbs. The saddle tank capacity was also increased slightly to 1,120 gallons and the maximum axle weight increased to 14tons, 11cwt. The compact saddle tank arrangement which wrapped around the boiler became problematic once the Great Western Railway adopted the more efficient belpaire firebox with its rectangular shape and pannier tanks were fitted instead. It was found that pannier tanks had the added advantage of reducing the centre of gravity of the locomotives giving greater stability, which allowed them to safely operate at greater speeds. No1748 was fitted with a new P class boiler and belparie firebox in September 1927 and re-entered traffic the following month with pannier tanks capable of holding 1,200 gallons. This boiler operated at 180 lb pressure increasing the tractive effort at 85% to 19,120 lbs (power group – B). The boiler was a superheated type, but this was found to be superfluous and the superheating elements were later removed. The bunker was also extended to carry three tons of coal and in this form the maximum axle weight was now 15tons, 5cwt (route colour – Yellow). See Engine Map for details about the Great Western Railway locomotive classification system.

No 1748 was initially allocated to Much Wenlock shed, which was a sub-shed of Wellington shed (WLN) and was allocated there at the grouping. After being converted to a pannier tank No 1748 was known to be allocated at Stourbridge Shed (STB) in both January 1934 and 1938, but was withdrawn from Wellington Shed in February 1946.

Robert Ferris