Saturday, 22 April 2017

Tyseley: A Burst Of "Braunton"...

Hi all. Today I was over at the Birmingham-based Tyseley Loco Works for their Saturday volunteer working party. The sun was shining as I pulled up at the former 84E on this clear Spring day. I'd managed to stop off for the traditional breakfast on route, this week supplied by the Tyseley Corner Cafe. Well recommended is all I can say...
Having changed into my overalls and plodded down to the engine shed, I found some of the team working away on Pannier Tank No9600. The next trip for the 1945-built 0-6-0 is the May 13th outing with larger Hawksworth cousin No9466. I believe we're off for another ramble around the Midlands with the two tank engines...
"At The Foot of a Pannier"
We worked on 9600 until lunch break arrived. Following a session putting the world to rights over a bottle of pop, the team turned its attentions to an imminent arrival. The West Country Pacific "Braunton": a Bulleid product of 1946: was on its way from Stratford for servicing. The 4-6-2 had hauled an excursion up from London to Shakespeare's town and needed to steam light engine to Tyseley for turning, watering and coaling. A Bulleid whistle soon echoed on the wind, heralding the arrival of the pacific. Sure enough, in she strode light engine and rolled casually down into the yard...
Groaning through the point work, the pacific soon reached the turntable...
If memory serves me right I've never crossed paths with "Braunton" before. Built as a West Country 'light' pacific, the class were designed to operate over routes where the larger Merchant Navy's were too heavy to roam. These 7P classified engines were actually for mixed traffic, though some argue this was Bulleid's excuse for acquiring permission for their build during World War II when glamorous express passenger engines were less in demand! A total of 110 of this type were built, receiving either West Country names or Battle of Britain alternatives. They were built with air smoothed casings and chain driven valve gear, contained within an oil bath. The design worked well enough but BR decided to rebuild most of the pacifics after nationalisation. "Braunton" was rebuilt in January 1959 with the casing being removed and the more maintenance friendly Walschaerts valve gear fitted. Sixty of the class were rebuilt in this way, though the Modernisation Plan put pay to the same happening to the remaining fifty. The remaining unrebuilt engines continued in revenue earning service, with some lasting until the end of Southern steam in 1967. "Braunton" was finally withdrawn in 1965...
The immaculate "Braunton" is however currently running as scrapped sister engine No34052 "Lord Dowding" of the Battle of Britain class...
"34046 as Scrapped Sister 34052"
"Braunton" has been on the main line for a few years now in her preservation life. She is owned by Jeremy Hosking and operates under his "Icons of Steam" banner. Today she was working the "Cathedrals Express" which would leave Stratford in the early evening for a sprint back to the capital. During her brief stay at Tyseley her own support crew busied themselves on and about the engine: oiling her up, cleaning the fire, trimming the coal and so on - just as we do on a trip with 5043. Soon enough, with the tender replenished and the fire remade, it was time for "Braunton" to leave. She departed the yard upgrade to the signalbox before dropping back through the adjacent loop...
"A Final View of The Bulleid Pacific"
The pacific sauntered carefully past us before chugging upgrade back onto the main line. She would run tender first to Stratford before taking the Hatton route towards Oxford later in the evening. It was really nice to see the pacific up close and personal. By now the time was gone 5pm and so I decided to head for home...
"4965 'Rood Ashton Hall' Awaits Her Next Turn"
I'll next be at Tyseley next weekend but only briefly as we're off on another trip. This time the immaculate 5043 is off to Llandudno for the Victorian Festival. That should be another good run - fingers crossed! Cheers all, Sam...

1 comment:

David Chandler said...

Nice photos of the Bulleid on shed at Tyseley Sam, thanks for sharing! I went out to the lineside to see it as normal. Hope Saturday's trip goes well!