Following the engine

This is an interesting thing – local and railway history in evolution. Yesterday, I featured a fascinating analysis of a great picture of  steam locomotive at Brownhills Station in the early part of last century, sent in by reader Ian Pell. The picture originated in a press release for the upcoming  Walsall Local History Centre exhibition entitled Brownhills Past & Present.

In the last 24 hours, Ian has refined and updated his view following discovery of the loco number, and this updated information is remarkable, comprehensive and beautifully detailed.

I have linked to this as a footnote in the original post, but it’s large, so I made  an new post. The two are linked, so in accordance with Ian’s wishes, the two articles are now continuous to those discovering the history in the future.

I thank Ian for his incredible contributions which must take a huge amount of work. Such visible ‘thinking aloud’ is great to see, and it’s refreshing to see a local historian ready to change their position on evidence. Contrary to his assertion, Ian is a very authoritative voice in local history of this type and this blog would be very much poorer without it.

Cheers, Ian.

WLHC2923 Brownhills Railway Station, early 1900s

Photograph of a steam locomotive and carriages in Brownhills Railway Station, taken in the early 1900s – From the exhibition. Anyone know what it is? Image supplied by Walsall Local History Centre.

Hi Bob

Thank you for your kind introduction to my recent piece regarding the Brownhills photograph of the Webb 2-4-2T locomotive.

Firstly, I have to say I am but a mere chorister and conduit in the areas of the choral and the South Staffs Water main. There are of course, greater and more authoritive voices and the ‘main man’ on these subjects.

As I said, regarding the identity of the locomotive I was merely guessing at the locomotive’s number, but thanks to your efforts LNWR No. 465 begins to make a lot of sense. The frustration of yesterday was that I only had the 1935 list of the class. However, deep in the recesses of my mind I seemed to recall another article written about the class, and it came to me – it was an piece written by Bill Aves (ref:- Railway Bylines, Annual No.3, 1999, pages 4-21). It is an excellent article and within it are a detailed description of the class and a list of the 160 individual locomotives. This reveals that my guesses at the number were totally wide of the mark, but that No. 465 did exist. Its details are as follows:- built Jan. 1891, Crewe Works No. 3156, LMSR No. 6604, motor fitted – date unknown, BR No. 46604, date withdrawn Aug 1955- Warwick. This was indeed the last operational member of the class. Some argue that the Swansea allocation never made it to Swansea and was in fact a paper exercise! I leave that one it the LNWR historians. Remarkably, Bill’s article contains an extract from No. 465’s “Engine History Card” and this shows that it was well travelled enjoying spells at such exotic places as Sutton Oak, Lees, Brecon, Stockport, Workington, Bangor, Crewe North and eventually Warwick in the period of 1935-1955 alone.

The numbering of the class was interesting in that some forty locomotives were nominal renewals of the ‘Precursor’ tender engines, these engines took the numbers of the withdrawn engines, and as such are not consecutively numbered; hence my ignorance regarding whether or not my initial guesses existed. They did not.

So, the photograph is remarkable in that it would appear to show the last member of the class to be withdrawn in better days.

I also believe I may be in error regarding the closure of Brereton Sidings box, which is probably this evening (Saturday), although on my visit on Thursday they were pumping out the cess pit! A sure sign that closure is imminent.

If possible I think this would be well placed as a postscript or footnote to either my original article or your follow-up. My reasoning being so that my original ramblings as not seen as ‘the definitive article’ if seen in isolation. As you well know and have well documented in the past, one of the problems of this type of information is the need to confirm, wherever possible, details from source material. It was only through your enlargement of the number and Bill’s article, and subsequent checking other sources, that the leap was able to be made regarding the locomotive.

Kindest regards


WLHC2923 Brownhills Railway Station, early 1900s

Looks like 465 to me – but contributions welcome.


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4 Responses to Following the engine

  1. Pingback: Now departed | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  2. Pedro says:

    As an aside, spotted this video on the BBC site. How the London to Brighton run has changed over 60 years. 1953, 1983 and 2013…

  3. Pingback: Special branch | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  4. Pingback: The permissive society | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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