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Birmingham New Street Station

Midland Railway Locomotives: lnwrbns_pg1929

View of LNWR 0-6-0T No 3253 standing on the down centre road between Platform 1 and 2 whilst acting as station pilot

Midland Railway 4-2-2 and 2-4-0 engines double head an up train standing at New Street's platform 4 circa 1900. The train engine is No 1862, a slide valve fitted Johnson 'Spinner' built in January 1890. It was renumbered 619 in 1907, retaining that number until withdrawal in November 1921. The plate springs for the driving axle, clearly seen in this photo, were only fitted to the first twenty-five 'Spinners', the remainder being fitted with coil springs. The driver, standing on the rectangular cabside panel, is probably doing something to the whistle. The only other thing in that area was the safety valves, which I would think unsafe to adjust with the engine in steam. The pilot engine is an unidentified Johnson rebuild of a Kirtley double framed '800' class 2-4-0. It carried its number on the side of the boiler below the dome, as there was no room for it in the usual position on the cabside. This meant there was no room for the company's diamond shaped heraldic emblem as displayed on the splasher of the 'Spinner'.

The tender of the '800' does carry the letters M and R to signify company ownership. Curiously the tender of the 'Spinner' seems likely to be unmarked in this way, though this wasn't the norm. Both engines would have been painted in the company's passenger livery of lined Crimson Lake. The photograph was taken sometime between 1892, when MR lettering on tenders was first introduced, and 1908, by which date both engines would have been renumbered. The MR side of New Street changed little over the years, and the bridge behind the signal carried Queens Drive, as it did until the radical rebuilding of the 1960s. There are two other photos of identified '800' class 2-4-0s for comparison. See images 'lnwrbns_pg1936' and 'mrb16'.

John Dews