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LMS Route: Rugby to Wolverhampton

Beechwood Tunnel: lnwrbeech3019

LNWR 2-4-0 No 2190 'Princess Beatrice' and LNWR 2-4-0 No 1924 'Powerful' are seen exiting Beechwood Tunnel

LNWR 2-4-0 No 2190 'Princess Beatrice' and LNWR 4-4-0 No 1924 'Powerful' are seen exiting Beechwood Tunnel on the 2:05pm New Street to Euston service on 4th July 1914. Philip Millard of the LNWR Society writes, 'a member of the Precedent class, No 2190 was built by Crewe works in April 1875 and was originally named 'Beatrice' which it carried until 1888 when it was renamed 'Princess Beatrice'. It was one of the eight of the class not renewed with new frames, but rebuilt on the original frames November 1895. Otherwise it was identical with the 'Renewed Precedent' or 'Large Jumbo' type. Renumbered by the LMS as No 5000 in July 1928 it was withdrawn in July 1932. Locomotive No 1924 'Powerful', a member of the LNWR's 'Jubilee' class, was built at Crewe works in March 1900 and was subsequently rebuilt as a Renown 'simple' locomotive in June 1922. Renumbered by the LMS in June 1928 as No 5183 the locomotive was withdrawn in December 1931.'

Philip continues, 'My Carriage Marshalling Circular for October 1913 shows the 2:05pm from Birmingham New Street (1:30pm ex-Wolverhampton) as made up of a Euston-Wolverhampton Set of four 57ft 0in cove-roof carriages BTK TK CK BFK, with an extra CK (in this case a high-roof vehicle) leading, and also conveyed at the front a Composite and a Brake-Composite (type unspecified but one would expect arc-roof stock) which were detached at Coventry and forwarded at 2/37 to ? (presumably a local service). 4th July 1914 was a Saturday - the day most railway photographs were taken. So although it is impossible to be certain, the description given is entirely consistent with the photo. The four-coach set returned from Euston at 5/35, the extra CK at 7/00. Another possibility which does not fit quite as well is the 2/15 from Wolverhampton, 2/45 from Birmingham NS, which was made up (from the front) of a third, another third, a 57ft BTK, 57ft TK, 57ft CK 57ft FK and 50ft BG. The two thirds at the front were run SO. I prefer the 2/05 from Birmingham. As a rider, it is interesting that such an 'important' train is headed by such obsolete motive power, bearing in mind the number of 'Precursor' and 'George V' engines in service at that date. Perhaps they substitute for a last-minute engine failure - but I understand that the Whale/Cooke 4-4-0s were pretty reliable.'

Reg Instone of the LNWR Society writes, 'This is the Coventry side of the tunnel with the train passing beneath Over Bridge No 332 (Nailcote Lane bridge). On the Birmingham side of the tunnel there is Over Bridge No 334 (Hodgett's Lane bridge), at a similar distance from the tunnel mouth - but it doesn't look quite like the one above.'