Here is a little story of an incident on the Oxford – Worcester line in 1947. Every detail is correct. My information comes from the GWR Internal Report. This is an example of the sort of thing to be published in my next book ‘The Great Western’s Last Year’. These kinds of stories will be a part of a wide look at the Great Company when its life was very difficult.
On the 19th the 6.45 a.m Worcester to Kingham local goods was hauled by 2-6-0 No. 6324 with sixty-four wagons and a 20 ton brake van. On 6324 was Driver H.Bevan with Fireman P.Matthews and Guard W. Northcott of Worcester. They stopped at Honeybourne for the bank engine – No.2273. with Driver J. Teale.. The train would require the banker’s assistance right through to the summit and so the banker was coupled to the brake van. This was to ensure the banker stayed with the train on the 1 in 154 downhill from Campden to Blockley before the final assault on the summit. The coupling between the 32nd and 33rd wagon broke after passing Campden station, running down a 1 in 154 gradient. Everyone concerned behaved with perfect calm and practised ease. The guard of the train and Driver Bevan, were alert and saw the breakway – this section of line was notoriously difficult for the driver of any loose coupled train and his train was exceptionally long and difficult to control. Guard Northcott would have made sure the bank engine driver was aware. Driver Bevan kept his half going to keep away from the rear portion. The signalman at Blockley signalman saw the front part go by with the brake van and sent the 5-5 signal to Moreton-in-Marsh. Driver Teale kept control of his half and brought it to a gentle stand at Blockley station, clear of the level crossing. The front portion was stopped at Moreton-in-Marsh. The defective wagon was put into a siding. It was owned by a Mr. Ray of Southend wither it was bound from Pilsley Colliery, Derbyshire, an ex-Great Central Railway station. To be on the Worcester line shows it was lost – wrongly marshaled somewhere back along the line – and now it was set aside at a country station, with a broken coupling, and as it was not owned by the GWR would not be mended until Mr. Ray was contacted and had agreed to pay the GWR to fit it with a new 3-link coupling.
When the front part of the train was at a stand in Moreton station, the rear part was propelled under the provisions of Regulation 14A from Blockley, the train re-formed and, with the banker uncoupled, Driver Bevan proceeded on his way to Kingham.