There were only 37 freight train partings in July 1947. I have the complete record for the month. On 29th a heavy freight, 2-8-0 tank engine, No.5229, coupled bunker end to leading wagon, was hauling 50 empty coal wagons forming the 8 p.m from Rogerstone yard, northwards, to Oakdale colliery. The engine was pulling about 450 tons on a 1 in 122 rising gradient when the engine’s draw bar pulled out of its buffer beam near Penmaen halt. Driver Maidment experienced the most rapid acceleration of his life but never for a moment lost his presence of mind. He shut off steam, and sounded the brake whistle for the benefit of Guard Fawkes. Guard Fawkes screwed down his handbrake and Maidment stopped only gradually to keep away from his train. Engine and its train stopped 10 yards apart.
They knew that there would soon be a train from Oakdale for Rogerstone coming south towards Rhiw-syr-Dafydd, 1 ¼ miles further north. Guard Fawkes gave Driver Maidment ‘Wrong Line Order “A” – Guard to Signalman’ . Maidment drove No. 5229 quickly to Rhiw, hurried to the signalman and explained the situation. The south-bound train not in sight of Rhiw Distant signal and so could be stopped in an orderly manner. Its engine uncoupled and by the authority of the Wrong Line Order ran Up the Down line onto the engine-less train. Meanwhile No. 5229 got onto the loaded coal train, coupled chimney to train, and took on to Rogerstone. The incident was resolved in a few minutes by the train crew’s knowledge and initiative.
Of the other 36 partings only 4 were the fault of GWR wagons. The rest were 11 LMS, 5 LNER and 16 colliery or coal merchant owne3d wagons. This last category – ‘Private Owner’ – were the worst maintained on the railway, a throw back to the very earliest days of railways – and these were the wagons that the nationalized railway was obliged to purchase.