Webb Coal Tank

The above photograph was discovered by the late Jim Boulton, hidden behind a picture as he dismantled an old picture frame. A rare find indeed. Our thanks to Ted Talbot for researching the photo and supplying the following detailed caption. Courtesy of Jim Boulton.
Webb Coal Tank No. 549, of shed 30 (Salop), in the Coalport bay at Wellington. The date must be about 1895, as the engine has a vacuum brake, but is still in plain black livery. There was an up gradient out of this platform, and after the arrival of a train, the stock was propelled out of the platform by the engine and allowed to run back in by gravity.

This operation seems to have just been carried out. The stock is a four-coach close-coupled set of four-wheelers, which, from the board partly visible, appears to be 'Shrewsbury and Whitchurch No. 1' set. The first and last vehicles are 27ft. 6in. by 7ft. 9in. thirds. They were a common type, 202 being built with five compartments in 1871-2, but many were altered about 1890 to firsts, seconds, composites and also third brake ends. They were supplemented in 1888-97 and broken-up in 1898-1909.

The second and third vehicles are (or, at least, were originally) composites, and are 27ft. long by 8ft. wide. They were built in 1869-70 and were broken up in 1901-2. All the carriages retain their ogee-shaped headstocks. The fireman seems to find work on one of Mr. Webb's 'Basher Tanks' quite enjoyable, despite the cramped footplate (a pricker is sticking out by the bunker handrail). All in all, quite a rare view of an early branch-line train.

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