Welcome to the Lickey Incline blog devoted to the celebration of the railway and in particular the great days of steam trains both standard and narrow gauge, on the railways of Britain.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Working the Lickey Incline

Notes from the SLS Midlands Forum April 2008 on working the Lickey Incline
In steam days virtually all of the up (South West to North East) trains had to stop at Bromsgrove for a banking engine. Then as now the chief horror to be avoided was stopping - "if you stop, you stick". A modern HST can rush the Lickey but physics still plays its part and while it may hit Bromsgrove at 110 mph by the time it gets to Blackwell it's down to 88 mphDescending the Lickey with unfitted goods and mineral trains was a nightmare and about half of all trains were probably out of control by the time they reached the Bromsgrove.Heavy braking led to a blue haze from overheated brake blocks and in diesel days' fears that the red hot blocks would set fire to congealed grease and oil on the engine bogiesTwo frightening incidents were a driverless 47 taking its rake of wagons and guard's van containing a traumatised guard downhill. In steam days an Austerity ran out of control, was diverted into the platform road at Bromsgrove, where it hit the points so hard that it fell off the rails but fortunately regained them.The locos remembered from steam days as working up and down the Lickey and banking were:
  • Norris 4-2-0sClass
  • 9F 2-10-0s
  • Stanier 8F 2-8-0s
  • Austerity 2-8-0s
  • Midland Compounds
  • 'Jinty' 0-6-0s
  • GWR 2-8-0T and 0-6-0 PTs
  • Big Bertha - 0-10-0s
  • Jubilees
  • Royal Scots
  • Black Fives
  • Hughes' Crabs 2-6-0s
The Bromsgrove footplatemen preferred the GWR panniers tanks to the 'Jinties'
Acknowledgements to Stephenson Locomotive Society.
For a full report on this seminar see the 2009 SLS Centenary Book to be published next year