GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton
Rowington Junction & Troughs: gwrrj1774
Great Western Railway 60xx (King) class 4-6-0 No 6000 King
George V scoops up water from the troughs at the head of an up express
from Snow Hill to Paddington. Behind the locomotive, the first two vehicles are
different examples of siphon wagons. These ventilated vans were originally
designed for the bulk carriage of milk in churns, but following the
introduction of milk tank wagons, these siphons were used for a range of other
duties, including the transportation of; perishable fruit and vegetable
traffic, parcels and newspaper traffic and racing pigeons in their baskets. The
first van appears to be an early six wheeled, 27 foot 6 inch long, outside
framed, horizontally slatted, siphon C with a low roof (6 foot 8 inches), while
the second is a later, bogie wheeled, fifty foot long, siphon G, which had a
three centre roof profile and high level shallow louvres.
Locomotive No 6000 was built in June 1927 at Swindon Works as
the first of lot 243. This was the first locomotive of a class of Super
Castles, built to the limits of the loading gauge. The locomotive was the
most powerful passenger locomotive in the country when built, with a tractive
effort at 85% of 40,300 lb. The locomotives' large boiler resulted in a maximum
axle weight of 22 tons, 10 cwt and the King class locomotives were
restricted to the Paddington to Plymouth and Paddington to Birmingham /
Wolverhampton main lines and even this required many bridges to be strengthened
(see bridge tests on new quadrupled lines at 'gwrwm1592' and 'gwro1578').
The brass bell at the front of No 6000 was a souvenir from the locomotive's
visit in September and October 1927 to the USA for the Baltimore and Ohio
Railroad centenary celebrations.
No 6000 was eventually withdrawn from Old Oak Common Shed in
December 1962 after completing 1,910,424 miles and was initially leased to HP
Bulmers Ltd being preserved at their site in Hereford. It became the very first
steam engine to break the mainline steam ban in 1971 and its restoration to
mainline operation is credited with the return of mainline steam in the UK.
Unfortunately the British Railways loading gauge was subsequently reduced
by deeper ballast specifications requiring the locomotive cab, safety valve and
chimney height to be reduced by four inches if clearance was to be maintained
for mainline operation. It was decided to keep No 6000 in its original
condition and the locomotive became a static display initially at Swindon's
Steam Railway Museum, before being transferred to the National Railway Museum
at York in 2008.