It was with great pleasure that I got to see 50017 Royal Oak during the recent diesel gala at the Mid-Norfolk Railway.
This was the first Class 50 I saw in late 2004 having rekindled my interest in railways and not seen any of the class in operation since 1985. Back in 2004, it was inoperative and languishing in Birmingham Railway Museum, Tyseley sporting an unattractive maroon livery. The current owner and those who returned it to an operational order can be justifiably proud of their achievement that it can roar once more.
Over the last 20 years the majority of the diesel fleet on the Severn Valley Railway have been maintained out in the open yard at Kidderminster. A consortium of the locomotive-owning groups and the railway itself embarked on a project to provide better facilities at Kidderminster.
The culmination of this project was the construction of a new diesel maintenance shed which was finally completed in early 2016. This facility has three separate roads, a full-length pit and a heavy-lifting crane.
Seeing three locomotives from The Fifty Fund all being maintained under one roof evoked memories of the class at Oak Oak Common and Laira depots in the 1980s.
After a number of years in a fictitious Loadhaul livery, 50035 Ark Royal made its first appearance at the Swanage Railway in standard BR corporate blue livery.
With the centre headlight removed from both cab ends and the headcode plated over, it provided an impression of how the class appeared in the late 1970s before their refurbishment.
It was with great sadness that the diesel preservation community learnt of the untimely death of Neil Morgan (aka 'Slim'). Neil had been at the forefront of Class 50 preservation from the beginning back in the early 1990s. He was instrumental in 50031 Hood becoming the first mainline certified preserved Class 50 on Network Rail metals when it hauled The Pilgrim Hoover railtour in November 1997.
Thank-you for the legacy you have left us. May you rest in peace.
D7076 made a welcome appearance at the recent diesel gala at the East Lancashire Railway, this being its first run after a repaint in BR corporate blue livery. For me, it was the first time I'd seen an operational 'Hymek' in blue.
D7076 is one of four preserved 'Hymeks', but the only example from the later Mk II batch. Introduced in 1962, it was withdrawn just 11 years later but retained at the Derby Railway Technical Centre (RTC) alongside sister locomotive D7096 where both took part in dead load research for a number of years.
By the time D7076 was secured for preservation both it and D7096 were in a poor condition but it was feasible to restore one, using the other as a donor. In memory of D7096, which was subsequently reduced to a shell and scrapped, D7076 carries the other's number inside one of its cabs.
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