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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Budbrook and Warwick Cold Store: gwrw2652

Ex-Great Western Railway 4-6-0 49xx (Hall) class No 5927 ‘Guild Hall’ shunting in the Cold Store sidings at Warwick on 14th October 1959

Ex-Great Western Railway 4-6-0 49xx (Hall) class No 5927 ‘Guild Hall’ shunting in the Cold Store sidings at Warwick on 14th October 1959 after leaving the local goods train in the loop. This cold store was one of nearly fifty Cold Storage Depots built for the Ministry of Food during the Second World War. The building was a utilitarian design, constructed of low cost Fletton-type bricks supplied by the London Brick Company around an insulated steel frame. The building remained in use as a refrigerated storage unit until the 1990s, being used to store dairy products associated with the notorious European Butter Mountain in the 1970s.

The rail connection was established in June 1942 consisting of two private sidings and two reception loop sidings reached by a facing connection from the up main line adjacent to a trailing crossover at the Birmingham end and a trailing connection to the up main line at the Warwick end. The reception loop sidings could hold a total of forty wagons plus engine and brake van, while the main line was protected from loose wagons in these reception loop sidings by headshunts at either end. There were no private locomotives working at the Cold Store and main line locomotives were prohibited from working in to the two private sidings as follows: a) Shed road nearer the Main Line – Beyond a point 24 feet from the northern end of the platform. b) Shed road outside building – Over curve north of building.

Warwick North Signal Box was also built in June 1942 specifically to control the access and egress to the reception loop sidings and the Cold Store's private sidings. The Signal box was opened only when traffic required. The track arrangement was rationalised on 24th September 1961 leaving the two private sidings but just one reception siding, all being accessed by the trailing connection to the up main line. This allowed the Signal Box to be closed and replaced with a ground frame from that date. The remaining sidings and ground frame were eventually taken out of use on 1st September 1969.

Locomotive No 5927 was built in June 1933 at Swindon Works as part of lot 281. The Hall class locomotives were a development of the two cylinder express passenger Saint class locomotives. An existing locomotive, ‘Saint Martin’ was successfully modified in 1924 with six foot diameter wheels instead of its original 6 foot, 8 inch diameter wheels. With the same standard No 1 boiler as the Saint class, it developed a tractive effort at 85% of 27,275 lb, which classified them in power group D and their maximum axle weight was 18 tons, 9 cwt, which limited them to main lines and some branch lines (Route code - Red). For more details see Engine Map. Despite this route limitation, the design proved to be extremely successful and the locomotives were found to be equally at home hauling heavy freight trains or fast express services. As a result, by August 1939 there were one hundred and eighty six 49xx locomotives distributed across the Great Western Railway.

Locomotive No 5927 was originally allocated to Old Oak Common shed (PDN). In January 1938 the locomotive was known to have been allocated to Banbury shed (BAN). Just prior to nationalisation in December 1947, No 5927 was allocated at Stafford Road Shed (SDR) outside Wolverhampton, but had moved to Tyseley shed (84E) by 1950 where the locomotive remained until shortly after the shed was transferred to BR (M) in 1963, being withdrawn from Tyseley shed (2A) in October 1964.

Robert Ferris