Locomotive Performance

Western Region Branch Lines

Here you will find a variety of ex Great Western 0-4-2, 0-6-0, and 2-6-2 tank engines, two Diesel Railcars, and several small and not so small tender engines. Plus a BR standard 2-6-2 tank. We shall visit the interesting series of branch lines which ran through the Dean Forest, then the Kingswear branch, the Tenbury Wells branch, and the fascinating single track railway which ran from Cheltenham Spa eastwards through Andoversford, to Kingham.
5th August 1954: Forest of Dean Tour: With huge thanks to the late Stanford "Jake" Jacobs:

On 5th August 1954, a splendidly sunny day,  I joined Jake Jacobs and Geoffrey Head at Kidderminster for a tour of various branch lines in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and the Forest of Dean. Below are the Logs of the journeys we made. It was a splendid day out. These were early attempts at Train Timing, and station to station times were taken from a wrist watch. I took no speed readings. Many are, nevertheless, a record of runs on long gone branch lines. 
 6971 Stourbridge Junction to Hereford [view log of 6971]
 3213 Hereford to Ross on Wye [view log of 3213]
 1445 Ross on Wye to Monmouth Troy [view log of 1445]
 7736 Monmouth Troy to Chepstow [view log of 7736]
 6903 Chepstow to Lydney Junction [view log of 6903]
 1630 Lydney Junction to Berkeley Road & return to Lydney Town [view log of 1630]
 1401 Cinderford to Gloucester Central [view log of 1401]
 W19W Gloucester Central to Ledbury [view log of W19W]
 7929 Ledbury to Kidderminster [view log of 7929]
The highlight was the trip over the Severn Bridge between Lydney and Sharpness, particularly the return journey, where the driver of Pannier tank no 1630 was doing his best to get us back to Lydney Town in time to catch the 3.00pm bus to Cinderford. We had been heavily delayed at Berkeley Road by a late running Gloucester to Bristol stopping service, upon which there were passengers for the branch. We caught the bus by the skin of our teeth, and thus were able to travel on the Cinderford branch.

The connecting journeys, from Stourbridge Junction to Hereford in the morning, and from Ledbury to Kidderminster in the evening, have been included on this page for convenience, notwithstanding the fact that they were not "branch line".

21st July 1955: 82004 Newton Abbot to Kingswear: My first trip on the Kingswear line was during a family holiday at Dawlish Warren. 82004 had to work hard with a 6 coach train. We were 3 mins late away from Warren and 8 late into Kingswear, following a crossing delay at Churston. [view log of 82004]
21st July 1955: 5021 Kingswear to Dawlish Warren: I returned from Kingswear on the 4.33pm service behind 5021 Whittington Castle. The 2 minute late departure had become 6 minutes late by Dawlish Warren. Poor work from the loco. [view log of 5021]
5th October 1955: W32W Kidderminster to Tenbury Wells & return: A Wednesday afternoon (School half day) trip with my friend John Tennent, who was a keen branch line fan. A very pleasant run through the Wyre Forest. 44 mph was the highest speed we reached, and we ran punctually in both directions. [view log of W32W]
4th September 1957: 1452 Paignton to Newton Abbot: A short run on the 10.05am service from Paignton. The 2 coach load caused 1452 no trouble at all up to Torre summit, and we reached 46 mph on the downhill stretch through Kingskerswell.  [view log of 1452]
4th September 1957: 7813 Newton Abbot to Paignton: Returning to Paignton later the same day, I got 7813 Freshford Manor on the Kingswear portion of the "Royal Duchy". With 4 coaches, it was an easy matter to pull back 3 minutes of the 7 minute late departure from Newton Abbot, top speed being 47 mph.  [view log of 7813]
6th September 1957: 4145 Paignton to Newton Abbot: My holiday over, and heading for home, I caught the Paignton portion of an up Paddington service. Large prarie ran competently with 4 coaches, max speed 49 mph at Kingskerswell  [view log of 4145]

11th April 1959: 4123 Cheltenham Spa to Kingham: Part of a Birmingham, Cheltenham, Kingham, Evesham, and Birmingham, day out, 4123 had 2 coaches to play with on the stiff gradients up to Andoversford Junction. Top speed was 58 mph after Notgrove, and we ran punctually throughout. What a superbly scenic route this was. Fortunately I was able to do the journey one more time, on a railtour, three years later. [view log of 4123]
22nd September 1962: 7336 Cheltenham Spa to Kingham & Oxford: So the next journey from Cheltenham Spa to Kingham was on an Ian Allan railtour, which had started at Paddington, run down to Weymouth (34050), then returned via Hamworthy and the Somerset & Dorset to Bath (53808). Another reversal before the next leg with a Hall to Cheltenham Spa St James. Here, no 7336, a 2-6-0, backed down, complete with a 2-6-2T pilot, no 5154, which assisted as far as Notgrove. 7336 then continued, running through Kingham, to Oxford, the first set down point. There was just one problem. We ran into the centre road at Oxford. After clearance by the signalmen, and under the supervision of the station staff, the passengers leaving the train at Oxford (both of us), climbed down, crossed the track, and climbed up on to the platform.    [view log of 7336]
2nd October 1965: 3205 & 4555 Exeter to Totnes: Finally another railtour, which had come down from Paddington to Exeter St Davids with 4079 Pendennis Castle, then continued down  through Newton Abbot, to Totnes, with 0-6-0 no 3205 and 2-6-2T no 4555 as pilot. Hardly a branch line, but at least a pair of "branch line" locomotives. But a 42 minute schedule with an 8 coach load was too optimistic, and we dropped  nearly 4 minutes. The maximum speed was 48 mph at Exminster, and we topped Dainton summit at 16 mph. [view log of 3205 & 4555]
Whilst very little of the above is relevant to the study of Western Region loco performance, the logs are at least a record of unforgettable journeys from a bygone age.