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Bromsgrove 1959

This year was  to  see  a considerable  increase  in  the use of  former LNER  B1  Class 4-6-0's on the route to Bristol as well as  the first recorded visit of a V2  class  engine. Possibly one  reason for this shift in motive power use was  the  decision  in  January by the LMS  regional authorities  to ban the use of 2-8-0 and 2-10-0  freight  engines on  passenger use, and in  particular to put  to  an end  the widespread  se of  the standard 9F locomotives on summer extras. Whatever the reason, the B1's were certainly appearing in greater numbers in the early  part of the year, notably on the Saturday 1248 York to Bristol. Some examples  to  appear on this train in the early months were:

Saturday 7th February  

61257  (50B  Leeds  Neville  Hill),  remaining  at Bristol until 14th February

Saturday 14th March  

61071 (50A York) returning on 1645 Bristol to Bradford  the next day 

Saturday 28th March     

61002 'Impala' (50A York)

Friday 1st May     

61069 (50A York) returning next day on the 1030  Bristol to Newcastle, double-heading 45273 55A Leeds) 

Wednesday 10th June  

61288 (50A York) remaining at Bristol for at least four days

Patriots moved to Bristol Barrow Road

Towards the end of February the newly transferred unrebuilt Patriots at Bristol were apparently not very popular; 45506 and 45519 were in store at Barrow Road shed while 45504 was away at Stafford Road Works, Wolverhampton. To offset this temporary shortage of motive power Carlisle Jubilee 45640 'Frobisher' arrived at  Bristol  to help  out  for  a short while. Traffic generally though remained  fairly unchanged.

Blackwell Station observations

A short visit to Blackwell Station on Saturday 28th February revealed the following:

40489 and  45609 'Gilbert & Ellice Islands' - northbound passenger

45662 'Kempenfelt'  southbound  passenger

73031 and 73067 both northbound passenger trains,

48105 northbound freight

48606 southbound freight with 5226, 8403 and 8406 banking. 

Unusual workings

Other than the B1 engines mentioned earlier nothing of interest was evident through March, although the diverse motive power in use is worth noting. Standard class 5 73155 worked the 1320 Bristol to Birmingham on Sunday 1st March whilst 4F 0-6-0 44553 (82E Bristol) was on the 1635 Birmingham to Gloucester stopper on Wednesday 18th March. By Saturday 28th March the Patriots at Bristol were obviously back in action because 45519 'Lady Godiva' was noted on the up 'Devonian'. Something slightly more unusual was the use of 42944 (1A Willesden) on the 1455 Bristol to York Class C freight on Tuesday 31st March. During early April the regular banker 92079 was out of action (destined for a lengthy visit to Swindon Works and was replaced by 92135 and then 92231. Visitors of note during May were mostly Black '5's although on Sunday 10th May Jubilee 45617 'Mauritius' was observed at Bristol Barrow Road Shed. Tuesday 14th May brought two Newton Heath engines, 44697 with self-weighing tender working the northbound 'Pines Express' from Bath and 44890 arriving at Bristol with the 1358 Derby to Bristol parcels. Two days later 45072 (from Carnforth was on Bristol to Sheffield relief while Stanier 2-6-0 42956 (5B Crewe South) arrived at Bristol on a pigeon special There were some particularly interesting locomotives in use in June starting on the 7th with a visit by Royal Scot Class 46114 ‘Coldstream Guardsman' (from 8A Edge Hill, Liverpool) which ran from Coventry to Weston-Super-Mare on a Sunday excursion with stock roof boarded 'London to Rugby'. On the same day Crab 2-6-0 42937 was noted at Bromsgrove on a northbound troop special the middle of the month brought a trio of Patriots westward quite an unexpected event and a B1:

Saturday 13th June  

45515 'Caernarvon' (8A Edge  Hill) on 0736  Sunderland to Bristol

Friday 19th June  

45528 (5A Crewe) on 0818  Birmingham to Bristol school  excursion On  the  return  journey 45528  failed at Gloucester and was  still  on shed  there at  the end  of June  

Friday 19th June     

45531 'Sir Frederick Harrison' (8A  Edge  Hill) on a pigeon special. At the  same time 67A Corkerhill  (Glasgow) Jubilee 45687  'Neptune' was a long way  from  home, being used on various services between  Bristol and Birmingham. 

Saturday 27th June  

B1 61164 (41A Sheffield  Darnell)  headed  the  09.08  Birmingham to Bath Green Park service, returning from Bath on the 1140  Bournemouth  West to Cleethorpes  as  far  as  Birmingham.

Also  worth  a  mention  are two pigeon  specials on Friday 5th June which worked  to  Gloucester and  Cheltenham via  Stourbridge  Junction  headed  by Jubilee 45596  'Bahmas'  and unrebuilt  Patriot 45537  'Private E Sykes VC'  but  it is  not  known  whether  either  of  these  locomotives  subsequently worked back through  Bromsgrove. Jubilee 45640 'Frobisher' (see earlier) was still in evidence being  noted on a south bound tank train at Bromford  Bridge on Monday 29th June. Patriot  class engines  continued  to  be  in  evidence  in  July  and August. On Sunday 19th July 45543  'Home Guard' (9A Longsight) headed  a Walsall to Weston-Super-Mare excursion,  whilst in  August 45525 'Colwyn Bay' was on the 0816  Bournemouth to Liverpool  on the Bank Holiday weekend, and 45501 'St Dunstains' hauled a Sunday Birmingham to Weston-Super-Mare  excursion. Stanier 2-6-0's  were also  in use; 42966 (5A  Crewe)  headed  the 10.35  Bournemouth West to Manchester from Bath to Birmingham on Saturday 4th July,  while  on the  Bank  Holiday  weekend 42890  and 42983  respectively  hauled the 1200  Bournemouth to Coventry  relief  and  the 0935 Sheffield to Bournemouth. However,  the most unusual working  of the year  to  date was  the appearance on Sunday 23rd August of former LNER J39 0-6-0 64930. This locomotive was observed on  Bristol Barrow Road  shed leaving light engine towards  Gloucester late in the afternoon and  in the evening was noted  arriving at Birmingham New Street on an unidentified passenger working to Derby. As if this was not enough of a surprise another engine of the same  class 64789 (from 31F Peterborough Spital Bridge) appeared at  Bristol on Saturday 10th October after bringing a special freight to the area, and was on Barrow Road  shed the next day. Other visitors of interest in July were 45329 (12A  Carlisle Kingmoor)  arriving  Birmingham with the 1215  Weston-Super-Mare to Sheffield  on Saturday 4th July, and  fellow Black '5' 44690 (27A  Bank  Hall) arriving Weston-Super-Mare on Sunday 12th July. On 13th July the last remaining Compound 4-4-0  working on the Western Region, 41123 shedded at 85E Gloucester,  piloted 73065  on the up 'Devonian'. (41123 survived until December 1959,  her withdrawal  signalling the end of many years of compound working  on the Birmingham to Bristol route, although one or two Midland or LMS 2P 4-4-0's could be seen  around in the following year. 40489 referred to  earlier survived at Gloucester until July 1960). Also, despite the embargo on Standard 9F engines being used on passenger work, the Saturdays 0730 Newcastle to Bristol was observed on Saturday 11th and Saturday 18th July arriving at Bristol behind 92077 and 92078 respectively,  both 18A Toton engines. This train seemed to  produce  something  unusual,  because on Saturday 4th July and Saturday 8th August it  was  worked by 2-6-0's 42947 (3D  Aston) and 42772 (9A  Longsight). October brought another Royal Scot engine to the area  when 46137 'The Prince of Wales Volunteers (South Lancashire)' appeared at  Gloucester on a Royal  train working details are not known), and various B1's were much in evidence, the  Saturdays 1043 Sheffield to Bristol  being a regular B1 duty. This  duty  was the normal preserve of a Standard class 5  from Millhouses, Sheffield (41C)  but as 61152 was carrying a 41C plate when it worked this train on 14th November it was clear these engines were replacing  the class 5's An unusual B1 appearance was 61161 from 9G  Gorton, heading the 0840 Bath Green Park to Sheffield on Tuesday 13th October.  As  the winter months arrived the highlights of the year were still to come  because within a month  the  line was to witness two visits by former V2 locomotives. The first ever visit  by one of these locomotives, 60954 (50A  York)  took  place on Monday 16th November and  perhaps  predictably it was on the 1248  York to Bristol train. On arrival at  Birmingham the  crew was  changed but the locomotive was allowed to work  forward to Bristol. On arrival at Bristol a reception committee was waiting, for  V2 class engines were not passed to work south of Chesterfield. The Western  Region authorities impounded the engine and sent it back north light engine  next  day running under a severe speed  restriction. It spent the evening of Tuesday 17th November  on  Bromsgrove shed. Hardly  had the dust settled before another member of the class, 60839 (again  from 50A  York) slipped through  the net, although no  details of its arrival at  Bristol are  known. It  emained  on Bristol  Barrow  Road  shed  from Saturday 12th until Friday 18th December, and  no  details are  available  on  how  it  travelled  back  home. In between times, on Saturday 21st November  to  be  exact, former LNER K3 class 61961 was noted at Cheltenham  on  a southbound  car freight. Whether she passed through Bromsgrove is not  confirmed  she may have  travelled via  Stourbridge Junction. The final item of  note was the visit of the first of the  Royal Scot  class, 46100 'Royal Scot'  to  Bristol on Wednesday 9th December, the first  time  this  famous  engine  had  travelled  so  far  west. worked  the 0840  Bristol to Sheffield  having  just (in November) been  transferred  from 1B Camden to 16A  Nottingham. This  particular  event was  significant  because it heralded the  forthcoming invasion of Royal Scots during 1960/61.

Famous Bromsgrove tombstones

On the non-operating front the chairman of Bromsgrove Urban District Council,  Mr J Hudson, wrote to British Railways about the condition of the famous  Bromsgrove tombstones. The railway authorities agreed to take on the future  renovation and preservation of the stones and  on Tuesday 13th October the traffic  manager at Birmingham,  Mr G Dow, visited Bromsgrove to see the completed  restoration work. In December a Christmas scene was presented at Bromsgrove Station for the third year in succession, in the form of a model crib, with the intention of reminding  travellers of the Christmas message.