BR Class 5 4‑6‑0 Number 73031 WHTS
Photograph by Peter Hands
FIFTY YEARS ON A ‘GOLDEN JUBILEE’
By the first week in May I was settling myself into my new career and enjoying every moment of it now that I was away from the grime, exhaust pollution and the heaving mass of humanity that was Birmingham city centre, coupled with the bonus of the calls of the songbirds from the Lickey Hills in the spring sunshine.
I was also getting to know the station staff, porters and the chap in the ticket office. Last, but not least, was the Station Master, a pipe‑smoking gent from the ‘old school,’ whom, at first, tended to treat me with disdain, because, after all, I was the ‘new kid on the block’ and he possibly envied my ‘youth.’
However, once I discovered that his ‘passion’ was steamrollers (from memory I think he owned one) we had a mutual interest in steam and his attitude towards me mellowed.
Many railwaymen came to the signalbox for one reason or another. There were station staff who brought the weekly pay packets and traffic notices, technicians who maintained the inner workings of the box (below stairs), lampmen who popped in for a ‘cuppa’ and last but not least firemen from the locos carrying out Rule 55 during a signal stop.
Barnt Green Drawing ‑ Interior of Barnt Green Signalbox
The interior of Barnt Green Main Line Junction signalbox as sketched by a young station porter whose surname (I believe) is Headly!?! The detail is incredible even down to the clock on the wall, the notices, TELEPHONES and the signalman's coat hanging casually on the back of his chair. In the right of the sketch is the lever frame.
I recently came into contact with a former relief lampman who worked from time to time at Barnt Green, a friendly gent in his eighties. He related the story to me of how the station staff used to rid the office chimney of soot by placing a single detonator into the fire – ‘whoosh’ – ‘bang’ – bye‑bye soot. This ‘unofficial’ practice had gone on for years without any repercussions (excuse the pun), but things were about to change!
Walking into the office one day he was confronted by a rather large hole in the wall where the fireplace once was. Some bright spark had decided to speed up the process of the cleansing of the chimney by placing three detonators into the fire. (I should imagine someone was hauled over the coals after that particular episode!)
BR Class 5 4‑6‑0 No. 73031
Above photograph taken by Peter Hands. Loose‑coupled freights often passed through Barnt Green and southbound ones had to have their breaks pinned down at Blackwell for the descent of the Lickey Incline. On the 13th April 1963 BR Class 5 4‑6‑0 No. 73031, of Gloucester (Barnwood) cautiously approached the camera with mineral empties at the midway point of the incline between Blackwell and Bromsgrove.
Photograph by Peter Hands
Returning to the steam scene the LMS Jubilee Class 4‑6‑0’s still held sway despite the ever‑increasing presence of the ‘Peaks’ and other types of diesels and my records of them at work during May on passenger and freight duties are as follows:
45557 New Brunswick, 45564 New South Wales, 45589 Gwalior, 45608 Gibraltar, 45626 Seychelles and 45697 Achilles – from 55A Leeds (Holbeck). 45593 Kolhapur, 45598 Basutoland, 45620 North Borneo, 45641 Sandwich and 45721 Impregnable – from 16F Burton.
From other MPD’s were:
45590 Travancore (8B Warrington) along with 45653 Barham and 45674 Duncan, both from 2E Saltley, and 45682 Trafalgar of 82E Bristol Barrow Road.
Other LMS Classes recorded were as follows:
‘Crab’ Class2‑6‑0 No. 42799 (16D Nottingham), Class 5 4‑6‑0’s Nos. 44666, 44919, 44965 and 45186 from 2E Saltley along with 45106 (12A Carlisle – Kingmoor), Class 8F 2‑8‑0’s Nos. 48004 (16E Kirkby), 48294 (8C Speke Junction), 48531 (1A Willesden), 48545 (15C Kettering), 48646 (2E Saltley), 48662 and 48728, from 16F Burton and 48734 (2F Bescot).
BR Standards and WD’s were represented by:
Class 5 4‑6‑0’s Nos. 73091 (85B Gloucester – Horton Road) and 73136 (16J Rowsley), Class 4 2‑6‑0’s Nos. 76022 (5F Uttoxeter) and 76047 and 76052 from 2E Saltley, WD Class 8F 2‑8‑0’s Nos. 90156 (36A Doncaster), 90211 and 90401 from 41D Canklow, 90292 and 90365 from 9G Gorton, 90585 (8F Springs Branch Wigan), 90599 (8L Aintree), 90613 (Frodingham) and 90617 (55E Normanton). 9F Class 2‑10‑0’s Nos. 92000 (2A Tyseley), 92026 (16E Kirkby), 92214, 92226 and 92235 all of 86B Newport (Ebbw Junction), 92218 and 92228 from 2D Banbury, 92220 Evening Star and 92224 from 88A Cardiff East Dock and finally 92239 from York.
Former GWR locomotives, mainly employed on freight traffic to and from South Wales, were well represented:
Hall Class 4‑6‑0’s Nos. 4929 Goytrey Hall and 5936 Oakley Hall from 85B Gloucester (Horton Road), 5952 Cogan Hall, 6918 Sandon Hall, 6931 Aldborough Hall, 6932 Burwarton Hall, 6936 Breccles Hall and 6957 Norcliffe Hall, all from 88A Cardiff East Dock, 6933 Birtles Hall (2A Tyseley) and 6935 Browsholme Hall (86B Newport (Ebbow Junction).
Grange Class 4‑6‑0’s Nos. 6813 Eastbury Grange and 6878 Longford Grange (86B Newport – Ebbw Junction), 6826 Nannerth Grange (88A Cardiff East Dock) and 6855 Saighton Grange (2B Oxley).
Modified Hall Class 4‑6‑0’s Nos. 6960 Raveningham Hall (81F Oxford), 6965 Thirlestaine Hall (86B Newport – Ebbw Junction), 6984 Owsden Hall, 6987 Shervington Hall, 7903 Foremarke Hall, 7925 Westol Hall and 7927 Willington Hall – all from 88A Cardiff East Dock and in conclusion 6985 Parwick Hall and 6993 Arthog Hall from 85B Gloucester (Horton Road).
Considering that the total elimination of steam on BR metals was only four short years away it was remarkable that at Barnt Green in 1964 one could still observe such a variety of locos from depots as far apart as Cardiff to York, Carlisle to London and Banbury to Scunthorpe.
Click here to read BARNT GREEN SIGNALBOX 1964 – 2014 Part One
Click here to read BARNT GREEN SIGNALBOX 1964 – 2014 Part Three