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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Hatton Bank: gwrhb2961

Ex-Great Western Railway 2-6-2 5101 class large prairie No 4155 with a class E express freight

Ex-Great Western Railway 2-6-2 5101 class large prairie No 4155 with a class E express freight (see 'Headcodes') ascends Hatton Bank unassisted on the Down Main Line on Saturday 27th March 1965.

Locomotive No 4155 was built in August 1947 at Swindon Works as part of lot 361. The 5101 class introduced in 1929 was an updated version of the 31xx (later 51xx) class, the first of which had been built in 1903. Externally the 5101 class differed from their predecessors by having curved drop ends, flanged motion plate and outside steam pipes. The cab roof was lowered and the coal bunker extended to hold four tons. The water tank capacity remained the same at 2,000 gallons. The class were adorned with copper capped chimneys and brass safety valves. The superheated standard No 2 long coned boiler operating at 200 lbs produced a tractive effort at 85% of 24,300 lb, placing the locomotive in power class D. The maximum axle weight was 17 tons, 12 cwt, which limited the locomotives to main lines and some branch lines (Route colour Blue). For more details of the Great Western Railway classification system see 'Engine Map'. The power, speed and particularly the acceleration of these locomotives made them ideal for the Midlands suburban passenger duties where there was a requirement for frequent stops with heavy loads. As a result many of the 5101 class were allocated to the Wolverhampton division, but their useful life was curtailed by the introduction of DMUs in the late 1950s. Initially No 4155 was allocated to Bath Road Shed in Bristol, but was known to have been allocated to Tyseley shed (84E) some time before January 1959, where it remained until eventually withdrawn from there in September 1965.

Robert Ferris