I'm not a fan of most modern traction, dominated as it is by characterless Class 66 locomotives. However as soon as I saw and heard a Class 68 I was more than a little impressed.
Sounding a bit like a modern Hymek with their high-revving engines, coupled with some impressive power output these locomotives are set to be a modern classic. The fact that their owners have a liking to give some of them names previously used on Class 50s is an added bonus.
Pictured above is 68022 Resolution, resting in the sun at Lowestoft, ready for a service to Norwich. The name on this locomotive had previously been used on Class 50 member 50018.
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.
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