What, when or where? Images from the SLS collections. (Last updated - 12th December 2011)
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Solved WWW No 153 - Negative No. 25836. Prairie tank 6137 and shed - but where?
Query posted on page 284 of the November/December 2010 ‘Journal’ and answered in the January/February 2011 edition.
This is the shed at Brimscombe on the GWR line from Gloucester, to the left of the picture, and Swindon. Brimscombe station and Brimscombe East signal box were just off the picture on the left. It had the simplest layout possible for a loco shed, being just a single siding leading directly into the up main line. The building was long enough to hold two 2 x 2-6-2T locomotives, the usual allocation being one of the ‘large’ 2-6-2Ts. It was a sub-shed of Gloucester (Horton Road). According to Lyons ‘An Historical Survey of Great Western Engine Sheds’ it closed in October 1963, but a photograph on the cover of the Great Western Railway Journal; No. 72 shows the siding still in use by a banking engine, an unidentified 73xx 2-6-0, on 12 September 1964.
The line from Gloucester climbs steadily towards Swindon, but around Brimscombe it becomes steeper, with lengths of 1 in 100 then 1 in 60 through Chalford and ¾ miles at 1 in 66 past Frampton Crossing. Finally the bank eases a bit, to 1 in 90, as the line passes through Sapperton Long tunnel (1864 yards) to the summit and then down hill at 1 in 94 through Sapperton Short tunnel (352 yards). The summit is about 4½ miles from Brimscombe and the purpose of the locomotive shed was to provide a banking engine to assist trains up the bank to Sapperton and through the long tunnel. Conditions in the tunnel must have been very unpleasant for the banking engine crew. The crossover in the foreground of the picture allowed the returning banking engine to run the down line to return to the up line and then to the shed. The section from Kemble to Swindon is being re-doubled after singling in 1970s(?).
The lococmotive seen in the picture is Prairie tank 61xx class 2-6-2T 6137 designed by Churchward and Collett. It is difficult to date as no insignia is visible on the tank but it is after 27 May 1950 when shed plates were fitted en masse to ex GWR locomotives. It has not been possible to find a date when front number plates were introduced but it was about the same time -c1950. Members may be able to supply this information.
6137 was withdrawn in November 1964 (46 years ago).
Photograph by W.A. Camwell.
Information supplied by Howard Burchell, Robert Darlaston, Brian Dotson, John Edgington, Allan C. Patterson and Hamish Stevenson is acknowledged with thanks.
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