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.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bevy of five 0-6-0T bankers about to drop down the Lickey Incline back to Bromsgrove

Copyright Ben Brooksbank
View SW, towards Worcester, Gloucester and Bristol: ex-Midland Birmingham - Bristol main line. Note the commencement of the two miles of 1-in-37 incline. They are all Fowler 3F 0-6-0Ts:- Nos. 47425, 47303, 47313, 47301 and 47305: between them they had banked three trains up the Inline, not coupled to the train being assisted so dropping off as it passed through Blackwell station. Ben's favourite picture!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

More photographs from Ben Brooksbank

Ben Brooksbank is a retired medical scientist and has been a keen photographer for over 64 years. He has taken photographs, primarily of scenery and railways, in Britain and abroad, in colour since 1953 (slides, prints since 1980), digital since 2003). A lifelong Railway Enthusiast, in recent years he has concentrated on Closed Stations...as well as Open ones. Ben has several thousand photographs in his library, including over 1,000 b/w of Railway stations/remains (and 3,000+ of locomotive and train scenes) taken 1946-66); also over 5,000 more recent colour photographs, mainly of Stations. But Ben's photography is not just devoted to railways, he has also taken scenery and other non-railway photographs the same 65 year period in comparable numbers. See more at Geograph

The LNER Garratt on the Lickey Incline below Blackwell

Copyright Ben Brooksbank
View NE just below the summit at Blackwell; ex-Midland Birmingham - Bristol main line. Up the famous Lickey Incline, two miles at 1-in-37 up from Bromsgrove, all except very light trains had to take on a banker at Bromsgrove. Normally either several 0-6-0T's or the special 0-10-0 'Big Bertha' was used, later a BR Standard 2-10-0 took over 'Big Bertha's role. However, in March 1949 with the electrification in the offing of the Worsborough Incline in South Yorkshire, Britain's largest locomotive, the unique 2-8-0+0-8-2 Garratt No. 2395 (BR No. 69999), was transferred to Bromsgrove and put to work on the Lickey for 18 months. For various reasons it was not a success - even after conversion to oil-burning. Here it is behind an Up freight in April 1949; the Sanatorium at Blackwell is seen in the distance.
Copyright Ben Brooksbank
A stranger to these parts, a GW 'Castle' on a Rail Tour prepares to tackle the Lickey Bank at Bromsgrove. View NE, towards Birmingham; ex-Midland Birmingham - Bristol main line. This was a Rail Tour in April 1955, sponsored by 'Trains Illustrated' (Ian Allan), Paddington - Bristol - Birmingham - Paddington, thus entailing an ascent of the three-mile at 1-in-37 infamous incline between Bromsgrove and Blackwell. The locomotive chosen was 'Castle' 4-6-0 No. 7017 'G.J. Churchward' with the 0-10-0 58100 'Big Bertha' as banker. Owing to restricted clearances the 'Castle' had to come off at Bournville and LMS Class 5 No. 44842 worked the train through to New Street, Birmingham handing over to another 'Castle' No. 7007 'Great Western' at Bordesley Junction. Note the ecstatic onlookers on the Down platform; as one of the participants on the Tour, Ben was surprised to be able to jump out and get this shot.

7017 'G.J. Churchward' was built in August 1948. First shed allocation - Old Oak Common. August 1950 - shed allocation Cardiff Canton. Last shed allocation - Old Oak Common. Withdrawn February 1963. Scrapped at A. King & Son, Norwich.

7007 Great Western was built as Ogmore Castle, July 1946. it was the last passenger express engine built at Swindon. First shed allocation Wolverhampton, Stafford Road. Renamed January 1948 as 'Great Western', the same name as the first locomotive built at Swindon. August 1950 and March 1959 shed allocations Worcester. Double chimney and 4 row superheater fitted March 1961. Last shed allocation Worcester. Withdrawn February 1963. Scrapped at Cashmore's, Great Bridge.
GW loco info per The Great Western Archive

To the Chocolate Factory!

Copyright Ben Brooksbank
Up Special to Cadbury's, Bournville on Lickey Bank. View southwards, towards Bromsgrove, Worcester, Gloucester and Bristol; ex-Midland main line from Birmingham, Derby etc. All ascending trains, with bankers, made a fine sight and sound. One might have thought BR should have provided a clean engine for this Special. It is Stanier Class 5 4-6-0 No. 44813 (built 1944, not withdrawn until 2/68.

Worcester - Birmingham stopping train ascending Lickey Bank

Copyright Ben Brooksbank
View southward, towards Bromsgrove, Worcester etc.: ex-Midland Birmingham - Bristol main line. Stanier Class 4-6-0 No. 45040 is struggling and blowing sand for adhesion, even with about six vehicles (14.22 from Worcester Shrub Hill) and a 2-10-0 as banker. No. 45040 is nearly 30 years old but lasted until 7/67. (See SO9871 : Train ascending Lickey Incline and several others).

Two WR '9400' 0-6-0 Panniers on the Lickey

Copyright Ben Brooksbank
Two WR '9400' 0-6-0 Panniers banking an Up express on the Lickey Incline. After the line was transferred to the Western Region in 1958, the ex-LMS 0-6-0T bankers were replaced by ex-GW ones. Here '9400' class Nos. 8401 and 8402 are in action. (It seems that a lady in the last coach noticed the photographer.

Riddles 9F hard at work

Copyright Ben Brooksbank
Heavy oil train ascending Lickey Bank. View SE, down the Lickey Bank (two miles at 1-in-37) towards Bromsgrove; ex-Midland Birmingham - Bristol main line. This was one of the heaviest trains worked up this formidable incline, a loaded oil train from Fawley, Hampshire to Bromford Bridge (Birmingham). Headed by BR Standard 9F 2-10-0 No. 92136, pounding up at 10-15 mph with no less than four GW 94XX 0-6-0Ts at the rear, it made a thrilling sight - and sound.

Four '9400' class 0-6-0 Pannier tanks banking

Copyright Ben Brooksbank
Four '9400' class 0-6-0 Pannier tanks are needed to bank an Up oil train on the Lickey Bank. These were at the back of the train depicted in SO9871 : Heavy oil train ascending Lickey Bank and noise was tremendous -and I recorded it. They are '9400' class Nos. 8402, 9430, 8400 and 8401.

Bromsgrove Shed

Copyright Ben Brooksbank
Two WR '9400' 0-6-0 Panniers in the Locomotive Yard at Bromsgrove. The former small Midland Depot at Bromsgrove housed the Lickey Bankers and was taken over in 1958 by the WR. Here '9400' class 0-6-0PTs Nos. 8401 and 8400 (built by Bagnall in 8/49) rest from their labours.