These 0-6-0Ts were rather unusual for the very ‘standardisation’ conscious Great Western, in so much as they were fitted with Walschaerts motion, as opposed to the Stephenson’s motion which was standard for the GWR. It was this anomalous feature which led generations of Old Oak Common crews to nick name the 15xx Class ‘Speedies’ – not because the were fast but because they were quicker and easier to oil up than Stephenson’s motion fitted engines.
Designed by Hawksworth, for the GWR, ten of them were constructed and they entered service post-Nationalisation, in 1949. Described as ‘heavy shunting engines’ they saw a lot of service on empty stock workings in and out of Paddington. No.1501 was sold, after little more than a decade in British Railways ownership, to the NCB and it was this which kept her in service long enough to be purchased by the Severn Valley Railway, in 1970. The other 9 engines were not so lucky and all of them were scrapped after very short, in locomotive terms, working lives. However, given that only 10 were built, one survives and bits from another two have provided spares for No.1501, they fared better than many much larger classes of locomotives with no surviving members.
No.1501 is pictured on Oldbury Viaduct just south of Bridgnorth Station on the Severn Valley Railway.