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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Hatton Bank: gwrhb2964

Great Western Railway 4-6-0 60xx (King) class No 6017 ‘King Edward IV’ in immaculate condition with a Northbound express

Great Western Railway 4-6-0 60xx (King) class No 6017 ‘King Edward IV’ in immaculate condition with a Northbound express (class A headcode) ascends Hatton Bank in the early 1930’s. For more information on lamp headcode details, see 'Headcodes'.

Locomotive No 6017 was built in June 1928 at Swindon Works as part of lot 243. The King class were the largest of the Great Western Railway's locomotives weighting over 135 tons (loaded) and having a maximum axle weight of 22.5 tons, they were limited to ‘hatched or Double Red’ main line routes. They had 6 foot 6 inch coupled wheels, four 16.25 inch cylinders and a boiler pressure of 250 lbs, which delivered a tractive effort of 40,300 lbs. For details of the Great Western Railway classification system see 'Engine Map'. As one of the most powerful locomotives of their time, they were destined for the crack passenger expresses between Paddington and the West Country, and also on the Birmingham Main Line between Paddington and Wolverhampton. Initially No 6017 was allocated to Old Oak Common shed (PDN), but moved to Stafford Road shed (SRD) at Wolverhampton two months later on 20th September 1928 and remained there until November 1939. After spending the next twenty years’ service on West Country expresses, the King class locomotives on this route were displaced by new diesel-hydraulic locomotives and No 6017 returned to Stafford Road shed in February 1959. No 6017 was eventually withdrawn from Stafford Road shed in July 1962 after completing a total of 1,853,262 miles and was sold on 24th April 1963 to Cox & Danks at Langley Green for disposal.

The smart rake of chocolate and cream liveried carriages with the (post November 1929) double waist lining and roof boards are seventy foot long ‘toplight’ ganged corridor coaches, with the first being a brake third. This is the corridor side and the panel moulding, although not emphasised is visible, allowing the coach to be identified as probably a diagram D51. This diagram had; a toilet, four third class passenger compartments, a guard’s compartment and large luggage area. Several balanced coach sets were formed in 1912 from pairs of; Brake Third (D51 - lot 1207), All Third (C29 - lot 1208) and Composite (E93 – lot 1210) coaches, plus a Dining Car and Slip coach. The details of these and the other diagram D51 coach lot were as follows:

Lot No Completion Diagram Quantity Running Numbers
1207 August 1912 D51 10 3575 to 3584
1208 August 1912 C29 10 2939 to 2548
1210 August 1912 E93 10 7752 to 7761
1215 June 1913 D51 10 3585 to 3594

Robert Ferris