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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Warwick Station: gwrw2647

Temporary garage facilities erected for Warwick Royal Show with Fordson tractor No 2313 under repair

Temporary garage facilities erected for Warwick Royal Show with Fordson tractor No 2313 under repair. The prefix letters of the tractor's registration number (GK6197) indicates a London allocation between September 1930 and January 1931. These were the first of the Fordson tractors to receive a cab and pneumatic tyres from new. For more details of other Fordson tractors see image 'gwrqhy2642a'.

Mr George Buckley of the Great Western Railway wrote in 1921 the following in his book on mechanical appliances about ‘Tractors and semi-trailers - This system of road haulage is, up to date, the nearest approach to the ‘mechanical horse’. Its use for railway cartage was introduced by the Great Western Railway in 1918. As will be seen, the principle is that a petrol (or steam) tractor of short wheelbase and having rubber tyres is constructed to attach and detach itself from two wheeled semi-trailers of 7 tons capacity also running on rubber tyres; the six wheeled combination being allowed a similar legal speed to that of an ordinary 5 ton motor lorry, ie 12 mph. Generally speaking, one tractor serves three semi-trailers, one of which is standing unloading at end of a route, the second being hauled, laden between the two termini; while the third is loading up at the other end of the route. The legs of the semi-trailers are tucked up when in running position. The attachment to the tractor is in the centre of a king-pin, which provides the necessary flexibility of movement and the tractor and semi-trailer can thus be easily manoeuvred in crowded spaces. The arrangement used by the Great Western Railway is the patented design of Mr WC Bolton of the company's staff. A drawback to the system is that once the legs are down and the tractor gone away, a semi-trailer stands immobile; this could, however, be got over with a little ingenuity, and a wheeled arrangement provided whereby a chain horse could pull a semi-trailer about a depot in the absence of the tractor.

Robert Ferris