Locomotive & Train
Railwayana - GWR Cabsides
Railway companies needed
ways to identify their various engines and so they were all numbered in some way
or another. This could be by numbers painted on the front or on the sides of the
engines cab, otherwise by cast iron or, more usually, brass plates which were
displayed on the sides of the Loco cab.
The company that made most use of the Cabside plates was
the Great Western Railway who numbered their locos with Brass or Cast Iron plates on
either side of the cab.
Some plates had GWR on top and a number below and some
locos that worked in Wales had two digit and three digit numbers. The majority of
locos had a 4 digit number.
|Cast iron Plate from an RR 0-6-2 Tank
||Cast iron Plate from a BPGV 0-6-0
||Brass Plate from a "1400" Class 0-4-2
In 1948 when the railways
were nationalised British Railways couldn’t face the task of removing all these
cabside plates in order to use 5 digit numbers as had happened with all other
regions and so the new Western Region kept 4 digit numbers and their cabside
A mix of brass and Cast iron plates were used even within the same Class of
Brass plates were however used on all the named engines and even on the more mundane
classes brass plates sell for more than a similar Cast iron one - mainly as when
polished up they are more attractive to display.
The prices paid for Cabsides has
dropped by about 40% from the peak of around 2003-2004. Shown below
is a rough guide to the price you would have to pay in auction to
obtain a plate from a named loco. Prices from unnamed Classes vary
according to the type of loco and the size of the Class and prices
range from around £300 for a Cast iron plate from a Pannier tank
that worked in the Welsh Valleys to around £2000 for a "1400" Class
0-4-2 Tank that worked a branch line in the West Country.
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