The Museum is open today
Please note that due to our cafe being refurbished we are offering a reduced menu until 7 January 2018

September 2017

My name is Lisa Hudman and I am the Digitisation Assistant for the Film and Picture Library. This month I stumbled upon the picture which inspired my Document of the Month whilst I was walking through the Museum. I noticed an image of a diesel locomotive with three men holding up the nameplate 'Herbert Austin'.

Why this document?

This picture particularly caught my eye because my husband, Luke, has an interest in railways. I told him about the picture and he went to have a look at it. Later that day he told me that the nameplate in the photograph was on display within the 'Automobilia' store in the Museum because it is part of our Artefact Collection.

Luke then helped me with some research on the engine; we found out that the locomotive it belonged to was a Class 47 number 47337. These locomotives were built at the Crewe Works and the Brush Falcon Works between 1962-1968 and were a popular class of the British Mainline, with some remaining in service until circa 2000. The photograph was taken to mark the naming of the pictured Class 47 locomotive, which was one of a number of events held to celebrate '80 years of Austin'. Posing in the picture, in between the two railway men, is the chairman of Austin Rover Group Harold Musgrove. We also found there was a commemorative plaque which accompanied the nameplate which said:

'This locomotive was named Herbert Austin at the Austin Rover Group Longbridge Works on 24 April 1986. To commemorate 80 years of car production on that site and the long association of rail transport with vehicle production at Longbridge'

During the First World War Austin was producing items for the war and with the growth of the factory it was decided to build two railway stations at Longbridge to cope with the demand of both workers and goods. These stations were called Longbridge East and Longbridge West. At its height in 1918, the Great Western Railway ran three trains in the morning and two trains in the evening. The railway continued to be used after the war for passengers and goods, as lorry transport was still limited. In 1958 the final workmen's train steamed out of Longbridge as passenger services were axed, however goods and vehicles were still transported by rail until the collapse of MG Rover in 2005.

Here I am pictured with the nameplate within the Automobilia Store which has a huge variety of artefacts on display, from bone china to original prototype scale models. Members of the public can explore the store during normal Museum opening hours. If you would like to see more pictures of the railway at Longbridge, you can find a selection on our Flickr album at flickr.com/photos/bmiht.