Locomotive Performance

Review: Counties Halls & Granges

Here we deal with the Great Western 2 cylinder classes of locomotives, the Counties , Halls, and Granges. The Halls and Granges evolved directly from the 1901 Churchward master plan, and were in effect, mixed traffic versions of the Saints. The first Hall (1924) was a Saint rebuild and retained it's name, Saint Martin. The Granges (1936) were, in effect, a Hall with smaller driving wheels, and were used extensively on freight, but came  out on Summer Saturdays to help with the holiday traffic. The Counties (1945) were different altogether. An Express Passenger locomotive that was well suited to routes where high power outputs were required for short spells, but not suited to high speed level routes that needed steady steaming rates for long periods. Hence they tended to be concentrated on such routes as Wolverhampton to Chester, the North and West route South of Shrewsbury, and the Cornish main line. And surely the County class was the loudest locomotive ever to run in Britain. 
   COUNTY  CLASS 4-6-0:  
23rd February 1957: 1017 County of Hereford: Banbury to Birmingham Snow Hill on the Cambrian Coast Express, the 10.10am Paddington to Aberystwyth [view log of 1017]
13th April 1957: 1022 County of Northampton: Banbury to Birmingham Snow Hill on the 9.20am Bournemouth West to Birkenhead [view log of 1022]
15th June 1957: 1024 County of Pembroke: Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton on the 4.30pm Birkenhead to Paddington  [view log of 1024]
2nd September 1958: 1002 County of Berks and 5015 Kingswear Castle: Totnes to Plymouth North Road on the 12.25am Manchester to Penzance [view log of 1002 & 5015] 

12th April 1955: 6977 Grundisburgh Hall: Taunton to Exeter St Davids on the 7.30am Paddington to Paignton, via Swindon and Bristol [view log of 6977]

14th December 1955: 6971 Athelhampton Hall: Stourbridge Junction to Birmingham Snow Hill on the 9.50am Cardiff to Birmingham Snow Hill  [view log of 6971]

6th August 1957: 5923 Colston Hall: Shrewsbury to Hereford on the 11.55am Manchester to Plymouth & Penzance [view log of 5923]
4th June 1958: 6981 Marbury Hall: Bristol Temple Meads to Exeter St Davids on the 7.30am Paddington to Paignton, via Swindon and Bristol  [view log of 6981]
9th June 1958: 4987 Brockley Hall: Banbury North to Paddington, replacing a failed King at short notice on the 7.35am Wolverhampton to Paddington  [view log of 4987]
31st March 1959: 7928 Wolf Hall: 8.19am Kidderminster to Paddington, when the Kidderminster portion of the Cathedrals Express ran independently [view log of 7928]
21st April 1962: 6945 Glasfryn Hall: Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury on the 7.45am Leamington Spa to Birkenhead [view log of 6945]
8th August 1964: 6937 Conyngham Hall: Oxford to Birmingham Snow Hill on the Saturday 11.05am Weymouth to Wolverhampton. A storming climb to Hatton  [view log of 6937]
12th June 1965: 6967 Willesley Hall: Oxford to Birmingham Snow Hill on the Warwickshire Railway Society "Eastleigh via Somerset & Dorset" railtour. The loco was in dreadful external condition, and carried no nameplates. But ran splendidly [view log of 6967]
4th October 1980: 4930 Hagley Hall: Newport to Hereford in the morning, and Hereford back to Newport in the evening on the Deeside Venturer railtour. On the evening section, 4930's driver took a lenient view of the Overhead Bridge Slacks that were in force on the route for most GW locos. 73mph through Abergavenny southbound  [view logs of 4930]
   GRANGE  CLASS 4-6-0:  
31st August 1957: 6841 Marlas Grange: Ruabon to Wolverhampton on the Saturday 7.20am Pwllheli tp Paddington. A 2-6-0 piloted from Shrewsbury  [view log of 6841]

31st August 1958: 6874 Haughton Grange: Totnes to Newton Abbot on the Sunday 11.15am Plymouth to Exeter St Davids stopping service [view log of 6874]

8th July 1961: 6845 Paviland Grange: Birmingham Snow Hill to Kensington on the Saturday 7.05am Wolverhampton to Brighton and Hastings [view log of 6845]

12th August 1964: 6857 Tudor Grange: Birmingham Snow Hill to Oxford on a Saturday Birkenhead to Poole service [view log of 6857]
HIGHLIGHTS: A nice run on 1017 in 1957 from Banbury to Birmingham on the down Cambrian Coast Express. High quality work from 4987 from Banbury to Paddington in 1958 when it was called upon to take over at short notice from a failed King. And a storming climb up Hatton bank with 6937 in 1964 on a late running service from Weymouth. And a near repetition with 6967 on a Warwickshire Society railtour in 1965. And 4930 ran well in the 1980's on the Welsh Marches routes. My runs on Granges were mainly on Summer Saturday services and their performance can only be described as modest.

The best of the above was most certainly 6937 Conyngham Hall. 46 mph up Hatton bank with load 10 was better than I ever did on a King or a Castle. 


RECOMMENDED READING:  The GWR Mixed Traffic 4-6-0 classes (O S Nock..1978)