Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company

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The Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company (BRC&W) was a railway locomotive and carriage builder, founded in Birmingham, England and, for most of its existence, located at nearby Smethwick, with the factory divided by the boundary between the two places. The company was established in 1854.[1]

Products[edit]

Compartment of luxury saloon coach built for Palestine Railways in 1922, now preserved at the Israel Railway Museum in HAifa

BRC&W made not only carriages and wagons, but a range of vehicles, from aeroplanes and military gliders to buses, trolleybuses and tanks. Nevertheless, it is as a builder of railway rolling stock that the company is best remembered, exporting to most parts of the new and old worlds. It supplied vehicles to all four of the pre-nationalisation "big four" railway companies (LMS, SR, LNER and GWR), British Rail, Pullman (some of which are still in use) and Wagons-Lits, plus overseas railways with diverse requirement including Egypt, India, Iraq, Malaya, Mandate Palestine, South Africa and Nigeria. The company even built, in 1910, Argentina's presidential coach, which still survives, and once carried Eva Perón. Before World War II, the company had built steam-, petrol- and diesel-powered railcars for overseas customers, not to mention bus bodies for Midland Red, and afterwards developed more motive power products, including BR's Class 26, Class 33 (both diesel) and Class 81 (electric) locomotives. Examples of all three types are preserved.

Wartime production[edit]

The company built hospital trains during the Second Boer War, Handley Page bombers and Airco DH10s in World War I, and tanks (including the A10 Cruiser, Churchill tank, Cromwell tank and Challenger),[2] plus Hamilcar gliders in 1939-1945.

Some of the locomotives and multiple units built by the company are listed below:

Diesel Locomotives[edit]

Electric Locomotives[edit]

Diesel Multiple Units[edit]

Electric Multiple Units[edit]

Closure[edit]

In the years running up to 1963 the company had built an extensive number of locomotives, multiple units, and Underground cars, but then rapidly got into financial difficulties, and the business closed down. The self-funded prototype Lion main line locomotive was a particular disappointment, powered by a Sulzer 2,750 hp diesel engine, it was pitted against another self-funded prototype, Falcon, built by Brush at Loughborough which had twin 1,400 hp Maybach engines; after trials British Railways preferred the BRCW approach, but ordered them to be built by the Brush company.

Preserved BRCW Locomotive + Units[edit]

Country/Railway Class Wheel arrangement Built in Number now located at
Ireland/Córas Iompair Éireann 101 class A1A-A1A 1956 103 Irish Traction Group at Carrick-on-Suir
UK/BR Class 26 Bo-Bo 1958 D5300 / 26007 Barrow Hill Engine Shed
UK/BR Class 26 Bo-Bo 1958 D5301 / 26001 - Eastfield Caledonian Railway
UK/BR Class 26 Bo-Bo 1958 D5302 / 26002 Strathspey Railway
UK/BR Class 26 Bo-Bo 1958 D5304 / 26004 Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway
UK/BR Class 26 Bo-Bo 1958 D5310 / 26010 Llangollen Railway
UK/BR Class 26 Bo-Bo 1958 D5311 / 26011 Barrow Hill Engine Shed
UK/BR Class 26 Bo-Bo 1958 D5314 / 26014 Caledonian Railway
UK/BR Class 26 Bo-Bo 1958 D5324 / 26024 Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway
UK/BR Class 26 Bo-Bo 1958 D5325 / 26025 Strathspey Railway
UK/BR Class 26 Bo-Bo 1958 D5335 / 26035 Caledonian Railway
UK/BR Class 26 Bo-Bo 1958 D5338 / 26038 private owned at Cardiff Canton
UK/BR Class 26 Bo-Bo 1958 D5340 / 26040 private owned at Methil
UK/BR Class 26 Bo-Bo 1958 D5343 / 26043 Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway
UK/BR Class 27 Bo-Bo 1960 D5347 / 27001 Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway
UK/BR Class 27 Bo-Bo 1960 D5351 / 27005 Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway
UK/BR Class 27 Bo-Bo 1960 D5353 / 27007 Mid-Hants Railway
UK/BR Class 27 Bo-Bo 1960 D5370 / 27024 Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway
UK/BR Class 27 Bo-Bo 1960 D5394 / 27050 Strathspey Railway
UK/BR Class 27 Bo-Bo 1960 D5401 / 27056 Great Central Railway
UK/BR Class 27 Bo-Bo 1960 D5410 / 27059 Severn Valley Railway
UK/BR Class 27 Bo-Bo 1960 D5386 / 27066 Dean Forest Railway
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6501 / 33002 - Sea King South Devon Railway
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6508 / 33008 - Eastleigh Battlefield Line
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6515 / 33012 Swanage Railway
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6518 / 33018 Midland Railway
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6534 / 33019 - Griffon Battlefield Line Railway
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6552 / 33034 Swanage Railway
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6553 / 33035 Barrow Hill Engine Shed
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6564 / 33046 - Merlin Midland Railway
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6566 / 33047 West Somerset Railway
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6570 / 33052 - Ashford Kent and East Sussex Railway
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6571 / 33053 Mid-Hants Railway
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6575 / 33057 - Seagull West Somerset Railway
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6583 / 33063 - RJ Mitchell Spa Valley Railway
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6585 / 33065 - Sealion Spa Valley Railway
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6513 / 33102 Churnet Valley Railway
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6514 / 33103 Swordfish Swanage Railway
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6521 / 33108 Barrow Hill Engine Shed
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6525 / 33109 Captain Bill Smith RNR East Lancshire Railway
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6527 / 33110 Bodmin and Wenford Railway
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6528 / 33111 Swanage Railway
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6535 / 33116 Hertfordshire Rail Tours Great Central Railway
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6536 / 33117 East Lancashire Railway
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6586 / 33201 Midland Railway
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6587 / 33202 The Burma Star Mangapps Railway Museum
UK/BR Class 33 Bo-Bo 1960 D6593 / 33208 Battlefield Line Railway
UK/BR Class 81 Bo-Bo 1959 E3003 / 81002 Barrow Hill Engine Shed

References[edit]

  1. ^ White, Henry Patrick; Thomas, David St. John (1963). A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain. Phoenix House. p. 252. 
  2. ^ Fletcher, David (1993). The Universal Tank. HMSO, for REME Museum. pp. 87–89. ISBN 0-11-290534-X. , p.88
  3. ^ Connor, Piers (1983). The 'R' Stock Story. Hemel Hempstead: London Underground Railway Society. ISBN 0-9508793-0-4. 
  • Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company - A Century of Achievement, 1855 - 1963, John Hypher, Colin Wheeler and Stephen Wheeler (Runpast, 1996)