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Memories of trainspotting at Blackwell and Big Bertha engine

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: September 02, 2014

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READING a lot recently in The Bugle about railways, I thought my memories would be of interest to some of your readers.

In the late 1940's and 50's I remember riding my bike, along with my brother and dad, from our home in Stourbridge to the top of Lickey Bank, near Bromsgrove.

The local station was called Blackwell, and you could walk alongside the track for about 50 yards and then sit on the grass embankment and see the trains quite close, but also on a level.

This was best on a bank holiday Saturday with the holiday crowds travelling. We would see the trains come up the bank, and then of course several tank engines, depending on the size of the train at the rear.

On reaching the summit, not being coupled together, these banker engines would slow down and await the signal to cross to the down line and return to their base at the bottom.

This could be repeated many times on a busy day with a variety of banker engines. We saw an engine specially made for the job, an 0.10.0 if my memory's correct, with a headlight fitted for night work.

We also saw a Garratt engine, in effect a double ended 2.8.8.2. All this was absolutely fascinating and I have on occasions returned to Lickey to see them again, which does occur from time to time with the present day charter trains.

They were very happy memories indeed.

By the way I have just remembered that the engine specially built for the job was known as Big Bertha.

On a different note, can anybody in the Wollaston area tell me what has happened to the Roll of Honour which was behind the headmaster's desk at Wollaston school, which I attended from 1939 to 1944?

It listed all the lads killed in the 1914/18 War from the village and it was said that the casualties from the Second World War would be added later.

I have visited the old school twice but as yet have not gained access.

Can anybody help? I thought there was a history of Wollaston organisation but have not heard about this for some time.

John Way,

12A Hinksford Place,

Wall Heath,

Kingswinford.

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