worked its last train in August 1991 and was withdrawn in August 1991 due to it needing a major scheduled exam, thereby becoming the 39th Class 50 locomotive to be withdrawn after over 22 years of active service. Its engine hours stood at 7,462.
After its withdrawal, 50049 was purchased by the Class 50 Society in December 1991. The society had been formed back in 1983 as an interest group for followers of the class. Whilst the fleet was being run-down and withdrawn, the society managed to raise sufficient funds by 1991 and form a limited company called Project Defiance to formalise the arrangements associated with the preservation and future running of the locomotive. Although 50049 was in working order when withdrawn from British Rail, some restoration work was done by society members at Laira depot. Initially, the locomotive was restored to its previously unique 50149 Railfreight livery which was completed in 1993.
Following its appearance at various open days, 50149 was moved to the West Somerset Railway
in May 1994 where a heavy engine lift took place to allow the generator to be tested and cleaned, whilst the locomotive interior was refurbished and painted. More recently 50049 has worked alongside 50031 Hood
on numerous railtours on the national mainline as well as service trains in South Wales.
In 2007, 50049 became part of the fleet locomotives owned and operated by The Class 50 Alliance Ltd
, a company formed by the merger of The Fifty Fund and Project Defiance.
In 2019 UK rail freight operator GB Railfreight (GBRf)
and the Class 50 Alliance (C50A) announced that mainline registered Class 50 locomotives 50049 Defiance
and 50007 Hercules
were to be repainted in the latest GBRf livery. The decision to repaint the locomotives in the striking new livery was a recognition of the developing relationship between the two organisations.
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