On a cold and frosty morning, No.49395, masquerading as No.49442, slips a little as she eases her train into the head shunt at Keighley, where she was a Gala guest engine. I’ve seen these antique 0-8-0s hauling huge trains of wagons, on the WCML, through Rugby, back in the 1950s. First introduced, in 1912, by the LNWR, the G1 class was a development of an earlier non-superheated design. No.49395 was a further modification, the G2 class, with higher boiler pressure and, in some cases, like No.49395, the fitting of Belpaire fireboxes.
In my 1955 shed book some of these engines are in far flung corners with numbers allocated to Abergavenny, from where the LNWR had a line down to Merthyr, with several branches running down the Welsh valleys, one, to a junction with the GWR at Nine Mile Point, had a sub-shed to Abergavenny, at Tredegar. Swansea Victoria, also had a handful still on the books in 1955, but they’d all gone by the 1960 edition. When she entered BR stock, in 1948, No.49395 was allocated at 2C Northampton, in 1955 she was at 8C Speke Junction. No,49442 was at 10B Preston in 1948 and in 1955 she was at 2D Coventry. In the 1960 Shed Book neither engine is listed, my 64 Combined shows just 5 G2 / G2a remain in service.
No.49395, being the first of the G2 class, was saved to become part of the National collection, No.49442, along with all her chums, met the grim cutter, and was transformed, in showers of sparks, to cars fridges, and ten million razor blades.
If you have enjoyed my blogs – I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it: