GWR 4-6-0 Hall
4965 Rood Ashton Hall
Built : Swindon 1929
Identity Change* : March 1962
Withdrawn : December 1963
Restored & Mainline Certified : 1998
Mainline Certificate ended : November 2008
Mainline Re-Certified : October 2009
* 'A Tale of Two Engines (in two halves)' - read the story about the identity change
Photograph Features :
Ten Years - 4965 Rood Ashton Hall
Images : click on an image to enlarge
4965 Rood Ashton Hall was built for the Great Western Railway in 1929 at Swindon Works. It was one of the mixed traffic Hall class engines, which did sterling work for the GWR and BR on all sorts of trains. Several of the type were allocated to Tyseley shed for semi-fast, parcels and holiday excursions and they also worked the fruit trains to Moor Street goods depot including the famous broccoli trains from Cornwall.
4965 itself was first allocated to Oxley shed in Wolverhampton and by 1948 was allocated to Bristol St.Phillips Marsh moving to Penzance and several other sheds.
In 1962, the engine underwent a change of identity during overhaul where we believe Swindon Works made one good engine out of two, and it emerged bearing the name and number 4983 Albert Hall. it was withdrawn in 1963 whilst then based at Didcot depot.
The engine was purchased (as 4983) from Barry Scrapyard in 1971 for the Tyseley Collection and over many years was restored to main line condition. It was during this overhaul at Tyseley Locomotive Works that the locomotive's identity swap was discovered.
Today the engine carries the true 4965 identity and is turned out in authentic GWR 1926 fully lined livery. Its return to the main line was marked by a re-enactment of the former 'SLS Special' trains with a run from Birmingham Snow Hill to Didcot on Sunday 18th April 1999.
Since then 4965 has been the mainstay engine used on the 'Shakespeare Express', the Sundays-only Steam Train service, which runs during the summer months (and occasionally at other times of the year) between Birmingham Snow Hill and Stratford-upon-Avon. The engine has also been used on many 'one-off' excursions including deputising for a mighty King locomotive on a trip from Snow Hill to Paddington, which is something that Halls used to do in the days of regular steam hauled trains. It has also hauled several trains double-headed with Tyseley sister Hall class engines 4936 Kinlet Hall and 4953 Pitchford Hall. The double-headed Hall combinations have exhibited great haulage capabilities over the notorious South Devon banks, Llanvihangel Bank on the Welsh Marches route and also on LMS metals with a spectacular run from Crewe to Carlisle & back over Shap carrying a Western Region style headboard entitled 'The Caledonian'. In October 2001 Rood Ashton Hall hauled the first of two 'Lickey Banker' runs up the legendary Lickey Bank ably assisted by stable mate GWR 0-6-0PT No. 7760 as the banking engine.
Rood Ashton Hall completed its 117th duty heading the 'Shakespeare Express' on Sunday 26th August 2007. Although it should have been withdrawn for overhaul in March 2008, an extension was granted due to recent boiler work and it was able to head the Shakespeare Express on a number of times again in 2008. It also managed to hand the Tyseley main line baton over to recently restored Castle class No. 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe on a double-headed run to Didcot in Novemver 2008 prior to its evental withdrawal for overhaul.
The engine's 10-year overhaul took just a few months due to an on going programme of maintenance work that had been previously carried out during periods of low main line activity. So it returned to the mainline in October 2009 and got staight down to business with a private charter.
In its first 10-year main line stint the engine has visited a great many places with tours, many of which had not previously been visited by a Hall class locomotive. Destinations include Paddington, Blackpool, Bristol, Carlisle, Chester, Coalville, Didcot, Holyhead, Kettering, Kidderminster, Lincoln, Marylebone, Melton Mowbray, Newport, Oakham, Ruddington, Worcester, York.
Who knows what other places 4965 will visit during its second 10-years with Vintage Trains.