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January 2017

My name is Lisa Hudman, Digitisation Assistant for the Film and Picture Library. One of my many jobs is to scan old negatives and photographs which are preserved within the Archive, and make them accessible to the public via www.motorgraphs.com. This is how I came across a selection of photographs showing a steam locomotive with the name Victor, owned by the Austin Motor Company. The locomotive is an 0-6-0 Bagnall built in 1951 and the pictures showed it in the railway yards behind the Longbridge factory where it was used for shunting the transporters which carried cars directly from the Works to market.

The steam locomotive ‘Victor’ at the Longbridge Factory in Birmingham in 1951

Why This Document?

The image really caught my attention because my husband, Luke, is an avid steam enthusiast and I thought he would be interested. Unbeknown to me, the locomotive in the picture, Victor, was a big part of my husband’s childhood.

Victor was one of three identical shunting locomotives which were designed and built in the UK by W.G Bagnall & Co Ltd originally for the Steel Company of Wales. Modern in their design, these locomotives were built to move extremely heavy loads and be low maintenance for the crews. The locomotive’s features included a rocking grate which helped clean out the fire, roller bearings on the axles and motion rods, plus huge cylinders which made them very powerful for their size.

In 1957 the Steel Company of Wales replaced all three of the steam locomotives with modern diesel locomotives of the time. Number 403 (pictured) and sister engine 401 were sold to the Austin Motor Company Ltd and were used as shunting engines at the factory in Birmingham. The locomotives were re-named Victor (403) and Vulcan (401) and worked at the factory until they were then both sold in 1973 to the West Somerset Railway. Later in life Victor was sold to a private owner, Warwick Ormandy, who kept it at the Battlefield Line Railway in Leicestershire.

This is where my husband spent most weekends as a boy, volunteering with his grandfather and father, watching Victor pull passenger trains along the line between Shakerstone and Shenton. Victor was then removed from traffic for a ten year overhaul and boiler examination which was to take place at the Tyseley Locomotive Works in Birmingham. Sadly the owner, Warwick Ormandy, died during the works and the locomotive was sold and moved to the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway in the Lake District.

‘Victor’ and Lisa in 2016

The work has now been completed and Victor regularly hauls passenger services along the scenic line which myself and Luke visited in September 2016. Unfortunately Victor was not in service the day we visited the railway but I was able to get close enough for a photograph.

More images of Victor and the Austin Factory can be found on http://www.motorgraphs.com/photos/marque/austin/

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