Industrial Railways in Colour – West Midlands Pt 2
As in the sister book of non-National Coal Board industrial locomotives, all the photographs in this volume were taken in the West Midlands area as it was considered to be in the 1960s. This covered a wider area than the West Midlands region as it is to be found today and included the present West Midlands region around Birmingham and Coventry, the ‘Black Country’ parts of Staffordshire and Worcestershire and the county of Warwickshire. Collieries in this region were at the time divided into two NCB areas: Cannock Chase (Area 2) and Warwickshire (Area 4). These collieries had been nationalised on what was termed ‘Vesting Day’: 1 January 1947. The considerable industry in this area depended greatly on coal either directly delivered to the factories or, more often by that time, indirectly in the form of electricity or gas generated and produced from coal. The huge quantities of this bulk raw material were obviously best transported by rail and this needed interchange sidings, branches to the mines, systems within the mining area serving washeries etc. Not surprisingly, the NCB continued using coal fired steam engines for longer than most industrial systems and in the 1960s there were some real veterans and a number of unusual types in use. Most of them were saddle tanks but there were also some side tanks and three ex-British Railways pannier tanks as well as a very special 0-4-4-0 Beyer Garratt. Those mines which were a distance away from the main lines or where there were severe gradients needed powerful locomotives to haul the heavy loads. All in all, there was quite a variety of motive power to be seen and this book contains a visual record of almost all of the National Coal Board steam locomotives that were to be found in the area at the time.