PETER GRAY: Every engine seen was new to me
STOURBRIDGE Junction was one of the principal stations on the GWR line from north of Oxford, through Worcester to Wolverhampton, the OWW — Old Worse and Worse — as it was known in its early days.
This railway had a somewhat chequered early career, taking Brunel's broad gauge north to, though never beyond, Wolverhampton.
Remembering back to my first visit to Stourbridge engine shed on July 17, 1945, last week I said that I recalled there was a separate shed for the GWR diesel railcars.
This apparently had been the old OWW shed, until it was replaced by the Churchward-pattern 28 pit roundhouse as late as 1926.
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Stourbridge in 1945 was unusual in having almost none of the main GWR standard classes allocated to it, apart from a 26-strong army of '5101' class 2-6-2Ts, for the suburban trains into and around Birmingham, and the inevitable 0-6-0 pannier tanks — 36 of them from several different classes.
Even by 1947, when the 'Aberdare' class 2-6-0s had been reduced to two engines, and the lost one replaced by 2-8-0 No 2852, this was the only engine likely to stray very far from the Midlands.
So it was hardly surprising that every engine seen on Stourbridge shed on July 17, 1945, was new to me, and that didn't happen very often. An hour very well spent!
Now it was time to head for home, using the 2.18pm shuttle back to the Junction, and from there probably behind 2-6-2T No 4100, through Kidderminster to Worcester.
On the way we passed 'Saint' class 4-6-0 No 2948 Stackpole Court, probably on a Hereford to Birmingham Snow Hill service.
We had almost an hour at Worcester, and with the shed and works so close, it was too much of a temptation to miss.
Notable residents were another 'Saint' No 2937 Clevedon Court from Hereford, three R.O.D. 2-8-0s Nos 3003, 3027 and 3030, and a rare '1159' class 0-4-2T No 3574.
Confusingly, GWR 2-6-2T No 4504 (then allocated to Pontypool Road) was parked close to LMSR 4F class 0-6-0 No 4515 from Saltley (21A).
We were due to leave Worcester at 4.25pm on an LMSR stopping service from Birmingham New Street to Gloucester Eastgate which was routed through Droitwich and Worcester Shrub Hill and headed by LMSR 5P5F 4-6-0 No 5268, also from Saltley.
As soon as we were on the LMSR main line heading south to Chelenham and Gloucester, it was now LMSR engines all the way.
Jubilee class 4-6-0 No 5626 Seychelles was outside Gloucester shed, along with 4F and 3F 0-60s, 2P 4-4-0 No 518 from Bath (22C), and Fowler 'Crab' class 2-6-0 No 2812.
Johnson 1P class 0-4-4T No 1324 from Bath shed was probably seen at Mangotsfield, which we reached on the 5.40pm from Gloucester, due into Bristol Temple Meads at 7.16pm, in nice time to pick up the 4.15pm from Paddington which was then the last train of the day to have a Torquay connection.