|In the last issue we looked at a model locomotive that has
strong associations with Wolverhampton. This month we describe
another such surviving relic, which was known somewhat
confusingly, as 'The Model', although it consisted of a full
size locomotive chassis. 'The Model' was originally an E. B.
Wilson 0-6-0 tender engine supplied new to the O.W.W. in 1855.
Numbered 34 on the O.W.W. and 252 after entering G.W.R. service.
The locomotive was withdrawn in August 1904.
J. A. Robinson had the frames, cylinders and two leading sets
of wheels set up inside a room in the roundhouse at Stafford
Road to assist enginemen in understanding the workings of a
locomotive. The cylinders were cut away to reveal the piston and
the valve arrangements with the motion in different positions.
The arrangement was fully described in the G.W.R. magazine of
November 1910. The model was set in a pit, the wheels and motion
activated by a crank arrangement.
Generations of Great Western enginemen gained experience from
old number 252, it remained in use until the end of steam and
the closure of the depot. Even in later years. the motion was
kept bright and well oiled. The engine was brought to the
attention of the resident engineer as the demolition of Stafford
works began. The engineer being an enthusiast set about saving
the chassis. The demolition contractor did not object to the
engine's removal from the ever disintegrating works, but neither
the transport museum at Clapham, or Wolverhampton Corporation
showed any interest in the project. Old 252 made its last rail
journey whilst its fate was decided, being towed to Oxley behind
a shunter. The chassis was damaged due to the excessive speed of
the shunter, the cast iron gear being broken.
It was in this time of uncertainty that someone managed to
steal the 1873 Wolverhampton rebuild plate. The chassis was
eventually sent to Shugborough Hall, but was never put on public
display and languished outside, rusting beneath a tarpaulin
sheet. Its future now seems finally secure for the Armley Mills
Industrial Museum is to erect 252 as it once stood at Stafford
Road. The only surviving remains of an O.W.W.R. locomotive, and
of an E. & B. Wilson design once running on a British railway,
seems to have found a home at last.