The Sixth Edition

This edition contains articles on early G.W.R., Wolverhampton based locomotives. Wolverhampton Low Level Station's Indian Summer, Dudley Station, a walk along Stafford Street, Oxley interiors, more on the S&B temporary station, Driver Cripps and Silver Jubilee, and G.W.R. narrow gauge locomotives.

'Wolverhampton Based Locomotives' describes some of the early locomotives that worked in the area in the 1850's and 60's, 'An Indian Summer' describes the busy few years at the Low Level station, when the West Coast main line was being electrified. 'Driver Cripps and Silver Jubilee' is an account of the excellent work that was carried out by the famous LMS Jubilee on its visit to Wolverhampton in 1935.

The cover photograph shows G.W.R. number 3231, at the south of the Low Level Station.

Driver Cripps and 'Silver Jubilee'

In 1935 the L.M.S. accelerated the timing of its Birmingham-London expresses to five minutes under the two hours that had been the norm since 1902. As in 1902, the locomotive and crew on this historic occasion worked the train from Wolverhampton, the two hour tag applying only to the Birmingham-London section. The L. M. S. one hour fifty five minutes timing was not to be bettered during the steam age, although both the L.M.S and G.W.R. considered such accelerations. The following article is reproduced from the Journal of the L.M.S. Operating Department ‘On Time’ November 1935:

General success attended the introduction on Monday, September 30, of the Winter Train services which feature a number of important improvements and accelerations. To driver J. Cox, Fireman J. R. Cripps (both of Bushbury Shed), and guard H. Oakins, of Euston, fell the honour of forming the train crew of the inaugural express to run between Euston and Birmingham in the accelerated timing of 115 minutes. The first train to run to this schedule, the 9.15 a.m. from Euston, arrived at Birmingham on time after covering the 107.5 miles from Willesden Junction in 104 minutes, at an average speed of 62 m.p.h.

Driver Cox and Fireman Cripps at Birmingham New Street.

Bushbury enginemen (Driver J. H. Green and Fireman D. James) were also responsible for another important inauguration, making the first run of the 6.20 p.m. Birmingham-Euston express (5.40 p.m. ex Wolverhampton) to the two-hours schedule with three stops. The schedule of this train between Rugby and Watford, 65.1 miles in an hour, constitutes a new record for the fastest start-to-stop run on the L.M.S. system.

This section was easily completed inside booked time, an average of almost 74 m.p.h. being maintained over the 50 miles between Welton and Hemel Hempstead stations. 

Despite delays by p.w. and signals amounting to 11 minutes overall between Wolverhampton and Euston, the terminus was reached before time. On both these journeys the 4-6-0 engine, No. 5552 'Silver Jubilee' was employed - a fitting compliment to history, since it was one of the Webb Compounds of the L. & N.W. Jubilee class which worked the first two-hour express from Birmingham to Euston just 33 years previously. The loads of the 9.15 a.m. from Euston and the 6.20 p.m. from Birmingham on September 30 were 336 and 249 tons respectively, and the guard on the latter train was H. Ledward (Stafford).

Driver J. R. Cripps stands before unnamed L.M.S. Jubilee class 4-6-0 number 5627 (later "Sierra Leone") at Northampton.

All material courtesy of Irene Cripps.

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