English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives: Blog https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog en-us (C) 2021 English Electric Archive martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:22:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:22:00 GMT https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/img/s/v-12/u132879069-o642330614-50.jpg English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives: Blog https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog 120 90 The Great Gathering https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2017/9/01 50049, 50044, 50026, 50017, 50007, "Class 50"OOC_111_20170902_06Class 50 line-up at Old Oak Common

To celebrate the end of 111 years maintaining Western Region locomotives, Old Oak Common depot opened its doors to the public. To mark their 50th year, there was also a gathering of 7 Class 50 preserved locomotives, some of which had been based at the Old Oak Common depot. It was a truly awesome sight to see them lined-up.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) class 50 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2017/9/01 Fri, 15 Sep 2017 06:00:00 GMT
What Might Have Been https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2017/4/01 50031, "Class 50"50031_20170408_0350031 Hood at Severn Valley Railway, Bridgnorth

I finally managed to see 50031 Hood following its extended period away undergoing heavy repairs to both its internal machines and also its bodywork. Compare this photograph to that previously in 2013.

I must admit to rather liking the livery in which it is now painted. Although none of the class were out-shopped in this manner, it gives an idea as to what might have been had the class survived for a while longer.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 50 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2017/4/01 Sat, 15 Apr 2017 06:00:00 GMT
And Then There Were Five https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2016/11/01 50007, "Class 50"50007_20160401_0750007 Hercules at Mid-Norfolk Railway, Thuxton

It was with great pleasure that I heard the news that the The Fifty Fund had recently purchased 50007 Hercules.

The locomotive is pictured here at Thuxton on the Mid-Norfolk Railway during the 2016 diesel gala.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) class 50 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2016/11/01 Tue, 15 Nov 2016 07:00:00 GMT
Modern Traction https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2016/10/01 68022, "Class 68"68022_20160920_0368022 Resolution at Lowestoft

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.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) class 68 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2016/10/01 Sat, 01 Oct 2016 06:00:00 GMT
Hello To Another Old Friend https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2016/4/01 50017, "Class 50"50017_20160401_0150017 Royal Oak at Mid-Norfolk Railway, Dereham

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.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) class 50 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2016/4/01 Fri, 15 Apr 2016 06:00:00 GMT
Diesel Maintenance Facility https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2016/3/01 50035, 50044, 50049, "Class 50"50044_50035_50049_20160220_0150044 Exeter, 50035 Ark Royal & 50049 Defiance at Severn Valley Railway, Kidderminster - Railways Illustrated (2016), May, pp. 36

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.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) class 50 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2016/3/01 Tue, 01 Mar 2016 07:00:00 GMT
Back To Blue https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2015/5/01 50035, "Class 50", 25035, "Class 25"50035_20150510_1650035 Ark Royal & 25035 at Swanage Railway, Swanage

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.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 50 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2015/5/01 Fri, 15 May 2015 06:00:00 GMT
Obituary https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2014/10/01 50049, "Class 50"50049_20141003_0150049 Defiance at Severn Valley Railway, Kidderminster Town

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.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 50 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2014/10/01 Wed, 15 Oct 2014 06:00:00 GMT
Repainted Hymek https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2014/7/01 D7076, "Class 35", HymekD7076_20140704_05D7076 at East Lancashire Railway, Bury Bolton Street - Severn Valley Railway 2015 diesel gala publicity

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.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 35 Hymek https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2014/7/01 Tue, 15 Jul 2014 06:00:00 GMT
Better Than New https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2014/5/01 50026, "Class 50"50026_20140510_1450026 Indomitable at Swanage Railway, Swanage

50026 Indomitable made a magnificent sight at the recent diesel gala at the Swanage Railway.

My waning interest in railways back in the mid-1980s meant that I missed the era when many Class 50s ran in Network SouthEast livery. I did not expect to like it much but the moment I saw this locomotive I had to admit that it looked (and sounded) absolutely fabulous. I certainly don't recall ex-works British Rail locomotives looking so good - indeed almost better than new.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 50 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2014/5/01 Thu, 15 May 2014 06:00:00 GMT
TPO Demo https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2014/4/01 55016, "Class 55", Deltic55016_20140329_0155016 Gordon Highlander at Great Central Railway, Quorn & Woodhouse

I had never seen a Travelling Post Office (TPO) in action before so it was an interesting feature at the recent diesel gala on the Great Central Railway.

Locomotive 55016 Gordon Highlander was given the task and made an impressive sight as it powered at speed non-stop through Quorn & Woodhouse station with a rake of bright red TPO vehicles. I also surprised myself by managing to capture reasonable photograph of the event.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 55 Deltic https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2014/4/01 Tue, 01 Apr 2014 06:00:00 GMT
Back On Form https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2013/12/01

It was with eagerness that I made the 220-mile round-trip to see the inaugural run of 40145 at the East Lancashire Railway. Having been out of service for several years it was very satisfying to see the results of the huge amount of work undertaken on the locomotive by its owners the Class Forty Preservation Society.

The repainting of the locomotive in a BR corporate blue livery was an added surprise as this is how I remember them from my younger days.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 40 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2013/12/01 Sun, 01 Dec 2013 07:00:00 GMT
Two-tone Classic https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2013/10/01 55009, "Class 55", Deltic55009_20131004_0855009 Alycidon at Severn Valley Railway, Bewdley

Two Deltics were visitors to the 2013 diesel gala at the Severn Valley Railway. Having lived in York during the late 1970s and 1980s these machines will always bring back fond memories.

My memory of these machines, in the twilight of their career, was of them looking tired in BR blue and being filthy. I recall the joy at the time when locomotive 55002 was out-shopped in the classic two-tone green, albeit with full yellow front ends.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 55 Deltic https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2013/10/01 Tue, 15 Oct 2013 06:00:00 GMT
Unbelievable https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2013/9/01 50031, "Class 50"50031_20130901_0650031 Hood and author at Severn Valley Railway, Bridgnorth

The other day I was a participant in a driver experience day at the Severn Valley Railway. I still find it almost unbelievable that something which I used to stare at in wonder all those years ago, I now have the opportunity to drive.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 50 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2013/9/01 Sun, 15 Sep 2013 06:00:00 GMT
Hearing The Memories https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2013/6/02 56097, "Class 56"56097_20130607_0156097 at Great Central Railway (Nottingham), Ruddington Fields - Railtalk Magazine, 82, pp. 120

I find it interesting that it's not only the sight of heritage locomotives that brings back memories but also their sound and smell. Hearing 56097 at full chat the other day during the diesel gala at the Great Central Railway (Nottingham) brought back floods of memories, hearing these beasts crawl through Barnetby station with their turbochargers screaming as they hauled huge numbers of MRG hopper wagons full of coal.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 56 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2013/6/02 Sat, 15 Jun 2013 06:00:00 GMT
Deltic Duo https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2013/6/01 55009, 55019, "Class 55", Deltic55019_55009_20130527_0355019 Royal Highland Fusilier & 55009 Alycidon at Didcot Railway Centre, Didcot

I paid a half-day visit to Didcot Railway Centre the other day having heard that they were staging a small diesel gala. Amongst the other traction present on the day, I was pleased to see these two interlopers deep in the heart of Great Western territory.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 55 Deltic https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2013/6/01 Sat, 01 Jun 2013 06:00:00 GMT
Hello, Goodbye https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2013/4/01 50019, "Class 50"50019_20130407_0950019 Ramillies at Mid-Norfolk Railway, Wymondham Abbey

I seldom get to visit the Mid-Norfolk Railway so when the opportunity for a week-end break in Norwich coincided with a diesel gala I jumped at the chance. After several years, it was good to see and hear 50019 Ramillies in fine form.

This was scheduled to be one of its last workings as it is due an extensive overhaul in the near future that will see it out of operation for a lengthy period. I am hoping that it will be finished by the next time I manage to visit this railway again - in a couple of year's time.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 50 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2013/4/01 Mon, 15 Apr 2013 06:00:00 GMT
Steaming https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2013/3/01 40135, "Class 40"40135_20130302_0240135 at East Lancashire Railway, Bury Bolton Street - Railtalk Magazine, 79, pp. 135

A marvellous sight greeted me upon my arrival at the East Lancashire Railway the other day - that of locomotive 40135 warming the stock using its operational boiler. There is something really evocative about steam heating. This method of warming carriages has long since gone with 1986 being the last booked year for regular use in British Rail. The Class 40 Preservation Society have done an excellent job to reinstate such a feature on this locomotive.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 40 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2013/3/01 Fri, 15 Mar 2013 07:00:00 GMT
A New Future https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2013/1/01 50033, "Class 50"50033_20070616_0750033 Glorious at Birmingham Railway Museum, Tyseley

The future for 50033 Glorious is becoming clearer with a possible sale to a third party. In 2003 the NRM decided to dispose of the locomotive, subject to a suitable home being found, because of an inability to commit to future maintenance and storage costs. 50033, still owned by the NRM, spent a period on loan to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway during 2004 until a home was found at the STEAM museum in Swindon as an indoor static exhibit. It had been planned for the locomotive to relocate to RailSchool, at the Royal Docks Heritage Railway in East London. This plan was abandoned and since 2007 it has been dumped outside in an unserviceable condition at the Birmingham Railway Museum, Tyseley.

On a separate note, a replacement power unit has been found for 50044 Exeter in Portugal and recently transported back to this country.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 50 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2013/1/01 Tue, 15 Jan 2013 07:00:00 GMT
Bitter Sweet https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/12/01 50044, "Class 50"50044_20121006_0650044 Exeter at Severn Valley Railway, Kidderminster Town

It's with mixed emotions that 2012 draws to a close. On the one hand the year saw the return of 50026 Indomitable to an operational condition after 22 years. There was also the welcome move of 50027 Lion back to the Mid-Hants Railway where it will see far more use. On the other hand however, 50044 Exeter whilst looking spectacular externally, requires attention to its power unit costing tens of thousands of pounds.

This being the case, I urge readers to join the The Fifty Fund or make a donation. Without these funds we will be unable to continue mainline running with 50044, which will in turn reduce the opportunities for our other mainline locomotive, 50049 Defiance to operate on the mainline.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 50 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/12/01 Sat, 01 Dec 2012 07:00:00 GMT
Corporate Blue https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/11/01 55022, "Class 55", Deltic55022_20121103_0355022 Royal Scots Grey at East Lancashire Railway, Rawtenstall

Visiting the BR Blue theme day at the East Lancashire Railway the other week-end brought back memories of my youth and everything was painted in BR corporate blue. It seemed normal at the time that everything was painted in the same uniform manner since British Rail (BR) operated a strict corporate image policy. No livery infringements were allowed in any form.

In the late 1970s, however, staff at certain depots began minor embellishments. Stratford depot painted some of the roofs of its Class 47 locomotives silver and Finsbury Park depot began to give its allocation of Deltic locomotives white cab surrounds. I remember at the time, the excitement of seeing these small variations to certain locomotives - something that would be lost to a modern enthusiast brought up on a diet of varied and colourful liveries.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 55 Deltic https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/11/01 Thu, 15 Nov 2012 07:00:00 GMT
Back On Form https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/10/01 50026, "Class 50"50026_20120929_0350026 Indomitable at Nene Valley Railway, Wansford

50026 Indomitable made a very welcome appearance at the recent Nene Valley Railway diesel gala in late September 2012. After a few glitches at previous galas it was good to see the locomotive on top form.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 50 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/10/01 Mon, 01 Oct 2012 06:00:00 GMT
Midget Gem https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/9/01 03113, "Class 03"03113_20120901_0203113 at Peak Rail, Rowsley South

Often seen as unglamorous compared to larger mainline locomotives, shunting engines provide a vital role to the running of a railway. The Heritage Shunters Trust, based at Peak Rail in Derbyshire, aims to preserve and restore examples of these workhorses. The Trust has amassed a wide collection and many have been restored to an operational condition from being almost derelict. The collection is housed in a purpose-built shed at Peak Rail, funded by membership monies, donations and a grant from the Lottery Fund.

The splendid-looking 03113 pictured here was withdrawn from York depot back in 1975. It was subsequently purchased by Gulf Oil for use at their Milford Haven refinery in Pembrokeshire where it worked until 1991. It was then donated to the Milford Haven Heritage & Maritime Museum and became a static exhibit outside the museum at the harbour. In 2003 it moved to Peak Rail for restoration and transformation into British Rail corporate blue livery.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 03 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/9/01 Sat, 01 Sep 2012 06:00:00 GMT
Over The Banks Once More https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/8/01 50044, "Class 50"50044_20120721_0250044 Exeter at Paignton

Recently I had the pleasure of being on a railtour hauled by 50044 Exeter which ran from Paignton to Plymouth over the South Devon Banks. These are a series of hills that skirt the southern reaches of Dartmoor in Devon. They begin close to Newton Abbot where the line first climbs Dainton Bank. From Totnes it then climbs Rattery Bank reaching a peak at Wrangaton summit and then finally descends Hemerdon Bank to reach Plymouth.

Dainton Bank is the third steepest mainline bank, varying between 1 in 38 and 1 in 57. Leaving Newton Abbot station, the line begins almost level until Aller Junction. The climb begins at Stoneycombe where there was a signal box. It continues through the Dainton tunnel to Dainton signal box, a distance of 2 miles and 17 chains. The next, Rattery Bank and the seventh steepest mainline bank is experienced just after leaving Totnes station. Here the line immediately climbs past the site of Tigley signal box and on to the site of Rattery signal box, a distance on 4 miles and 50 chains. It rises at a rate of 1 in 45, easing to 1 in 90 and then increasing again to 1 in 65. Hemerdon Bank is the fourth steepest mainline bank, with a constant gradient of 1 in 42. The climb begins at Plympton and climbs all the way to Hemerdon signal box, a distance of 2 miles and 50 chains.

The sight and sound of a Class 50 on this stretch of line was once an everyday occurrence during the 1980s. It was marvellous to hear a class member pounding up these challenging hills again, recreating happy memories from my youth. For preserved locomotive 50044, owned by The Fifty Fund, it was 22 years since it had last ventured over these gradients.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 50 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/8/01 Wed, 01 Aug 2012 06:00:00 GMT
Slow But Steady https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/7/01 50030, "Class 50"50030_20120627_0250030 Repulse at Peak Rail, Rowsley South

It was back in 2007 when I last visited Peak Rail in Derbyshire, the home to 50029 Renown and 50030 Repulse. Back then, both locomotives had been recently cosmetically restored as a condition of their acceptance at the host railway and to slow their exterior deterioration.

In the intervening period, the Renown Repulse Restoration Group (RRRG) have made considerable progress internally on 50030 and have managed to secure a spare power unit (ex 50008 Thunderer) which will greatly assist in the restoration of these locomotives.

A saddening sight for me personally was seeing the severed cab of 50037 Illustrious which had been bought by the group. I used to frequently encounter this locomotive on my travels and it became one of my favourite members of the class. The last time I saw 50037 (aka 'Lusty') was at Exeter during the summer of 1984. The cab was instantly recognisable to me after all these years as it still had the same tell-tail dent on the corner by the driver's side lamp bracket.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 50 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/7/01 Sun, 01 Jul 2012 06:00:00 GMT
Teddy Bear Suprise https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/6/02 D9521, "Class 14"D9521_20130420_02D9521 at Dean Forest Railway, Norchard High Level

I've never really taken much interest in shunters or the smaller mainline locomotives. The other day however, I found myself behind Class 14 number D9521 at the Dean Forest Railway and to my surprise found this little machine very entertaining.

The British Rail (BR) Class 14 is a type of small 0-6-0 diesel-hydraulic locomotive. In 1964, the first of 56 locomotives appeared from BR Swindon Works. They were to be put to use on yard shunting duties and short distance freight trains. Later designated Class 14 under TOPS, they were known as 'Teddy Bears' by enthusiasts, following a comment by a Swindon Works' employee who quipped "We've built the Great Bear, now we're going to build a Teddy Bear".

Like many other early types of first-generation diesel, the class had a short life with BR. In this case this was mainly due to the disappearance of their envisaged duties. The majority were re-sold for industrial use. e.g. the coal industry, where they had a working life many times that within BR. In the 1970s a decline in the industries in which they were employed meant that once again the class became surplus to requirements. A good number however found a third lease of life on preserved railways where they are ideal for both light passenger work and permanent way duties.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 14 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/6/02 Fri, 15 Jun 2012 06:00:00 GMT
Many Happy Returns https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/6/01 50026, "Class 50"50026_20120525_0750026 Indomitable at Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, Haworth

50026 Indomitable is the only Class 50 to enter a scrap yard and survive. It was amongst a batch of nine locos sent to Booths scrap yard in Rotherham back in early 1992. A year later, it was literally dragged back out again by its new owner and then moved by rail to the Mid-Hants Railway, its first of several resting places.

Two decades on from entering the scrap yard in Rotherham and after several thousands of hours labour the locomotive is operational once more. It is a credit to its owner and those who helped in its transformation from a near wreck. It is pictured here at Haworth depot on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway during the May 2012 diesel gala. This was its second public working since the restoration was complete. Longer-terms plans for the locomotive are for it to be certified for mainline running and see occasional use on enthusiast railtours.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 50 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/6/01 Fri, 01 Jun 2012 06:00:00 GMT
Preservation Masterpiece https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/5/01 40106, "Class 40"40106_20120428_1940106 at Great Central Railway (Nottingham), Rushcliffe Halt - Railtalk Magazine, 68, pp. 115

Withdrawn in April 1983 after over 23 years of active service, locomotive 40106 was one of 20 Class 40s built at the Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn factory in Darlington. This made way for capacity at the English Electric Vulcan Foundry to build the 22 production Class 55 Deltics.

40106 has always been popular by virtue of it being among a handful of Class 40s not repainted into British Rail (BR) corporate blue livery. During its last works overhaul at Crewe in September 1978, the locomotive was repainted in its original green livery with full yellow ends. Being unique in this respect at the time, 40106 took part in the Rocket 150 celebrations at Rainhill during 1980.

For the second time in a year I have been hauled by locomotive 40106. Close inspection reveals the huge amount of work that has been lavished on this locomotive both inside and out. The attention to detail to make it look as original as possible is amazing, even down to the shed allocation plates on the cabsides and the ladder located on the nose-front.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 40 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/5/01 Tue, 01 May 2012 06:00:00 GMT
English Electric Classic https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/4/01 37240, "Class 37"37240_20120331_0637240 at Llangollen Railway, Glyndyfrdwy

Whilst visiting the Llangollen Railway the other day I had the pleasure of several runs behind locomotive 37240 (currently sporting its pre-TOPS number of 6940). This is one of the few preserved Class 37s that appear in an almost-original physical condition - having a working headcode box, round buffers and a front skirt (or valance). From new all 308 class members were built with a valance around their buffers, but from the late 1970s this was removed when locomotives passed through works for classified attention.

Although not especially pleasing to the eye with their classic English Electric forward nose, they were probably one of their most successful designs, being both hugely versatile and reliable. From an enthusiast's perspective, when being worked hard they sound pretty impressive. It is amazing to think that even today there are some of these locomotives still in active use on the national mainline even though they were built in the early 1960s.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 37 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/4/01 Sun, 01 Apr 2012 06:00:00 GMT
Stalked https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/3/01 31190, 50008, "Class 31", "Class 50"31190_20111107_0231190 & 50008 Thunderer on shed

Over the past year I have become aware that a certain locomotive, number 31190, is following me around. This ex-British Rail (BR) Type 2 Class 31 locomotive, built in 1960 by Brush, is currently owned by British American Railway Services (BARS) and based at their Washwood Heath depot in Birmingham.

I attended several diesel galas during 2011 and happened to see this locomotive on at least two occasions at both the Nene Valley Railway and Severn Valley Railway. A few weeks ago I went down to London on work-related business and happened to pass an old Class 31 in BR green on the mainline just south of Stafford. The number of this particular locomotive - 31190 of course.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 31 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/3/01 Thu, 01 Mar 2012 07:00:00 GMT
Vintage Year? https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/2/02 50026, "Class 50"50026_20090523_0650026 Indomitable at Eastleigh - Railways Illustrated (2012), June, pp. 100 & Keighley & Worth Valley Railway 2012 diesel gala publicity

2012 could possibly be a vintage year for Class 50 enthusiasts. This would be in contrast with their 40th anniversary year which passed with little or no recognition whatsoever.

Following the repair of 50035 Ark Royal, the fleet of all four locomotives operated by The Fifty Fund will be back to a full compliment. In addition, there is the prospect of 50026 Indomitable being fully operational and featuring at a number of diesel galas. This would be the first time 50026 has run for over two decades thanks to the efforts of its owner and a small number of dedicated volunteers.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 50 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/2/02 Wed, 15 Feb 2012 07:00:00 GMT
Loco-hauled To London https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/2/01 67013, "Class 67"67013_20120216_0267013 Dyfrbont Pontcysyllte at Birmingham Moor Street - Railtalk Magazine, 67, pp. 34

One of the few remaining regular passenger services to use a proper locomotive is operated by Chiltern Railways. This week-day service runs between Birmingham and London using a modern Class 67 Bo-Bo diesel-electric mainline locomotive.

I have used this service a couple of times recently and have been impressed by the level of service. The British Rail Mk3 carriages used by Chiltern Railways, a design from the mid-1970s, are comfortable, quiet and spacious compared to the vastly inferior modern offerings that passengers now have to endure.

The respective stations between which the service operates, Birmingham Moor Street and London Marylebone, are both delightful century-old Grade II listed buildings in stark contrast to their claustrophobic 1960s equivalents on the West Coast Main Line (WCML).

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 67 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/2/01 Wed, 01 Feb 2012 07:00:00 GMT
Hydraulic Heaven https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/1/01 D7017, "Class 35", HymekD7017_20110610_02D7017 at West Somerset Railway, Minehead

Although my main interests are locomotives built by the English Electric company I do enjoy other classes. I have a fondness for the diesel-hydraulic 'Hymek' locomotives of the British Rail (BR) Western Region.

Named 'Hymeks' because of their Mekydro-designed hydraulic transmission units, these BR Type 3 B-B class of locomotive were a mixed-traffic design. Unlike the equivalent diesel-electric examples of the era, they were powered by a high-speed 1,740hp Maybach MD870 engine - a larger version of the MD655 unit employed in pairs in the Class 52 Western diesel-hydraulic locomotives.

The class was developed for the Western Region of BR, which had opted for lightweight locomotives with hydraulic transmission when allocated funds under the British Railways Modernisation Plan of 1955. One hundred and one of these stylish-looking locomotives were constructed between 1961-1964 by Beyer-Peacock at their Gorton works in Manchester.

When built, the Hymeks emerged with the main body in a standard BR green but with a thick lime green stripe along the bottom of the bodywork. The roof was medium-grey and the cab window surrounds outlined in ivory white. In the early 1960s, yellow warning panels were added to the lower part of the front ends.

Withdrawal from service began in 1971 and was completed by 1975. Their premature demise was ensured when BR deemed hydraulic transmission non-standard for mainline locomotives. Only four examples are preserved.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 35 Hymek https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2012/1/01 Sun, 15 Jan 2012 07:00:00 GMT
Before The Blue Era https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2011/12/02 20154, 25279, "Class 20", "Class 25"25279_20111002_0225279 & 20154 recreate a scene from the early 1970s before the BR corporate blue era

I've never been a fan of locomotives in British Rail (BR) green, with the possible exception of the Class 55 Deltics. This is probably down to the fact that I just don't remember them looking like this in my youth - it being the era of BR corporate blue when I was growing-up.

However, a few weeks ago I visited the Great Central Railway (Nottingham) and the staff kindly positioned these two locomotives in such a manner as to recreate a scene from the early 1970s before the BR corporate blue era.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 20 Class 25 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2011/12/02 Thu, 15 Dec 2011 07:00:00 GMT
Fruits Of One's Labours https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2011/12/01 50044, 50049, "Class 50"50049_50044_20111119_1150049 Defiance & 50044 Exeter at Edinburgh Waverley

Recently I went on a Class 50 railtour run by Spitfire Railtours to Edinburgh. It featured two mainline-certified locomotives owned by The Fifty Fund, of which I am a member.

Looking at both of them upon our arrival at Edinburgh made me realise how worth while all the time and effort put in by volunteers of groups such of ours really is. All the more remarkable is the fact that locomotive 50044 Exeter was sold to The Fifty Fund by British Rail twenty years previously having supposedly been subject to heavy component recovery and dumped at Stratford depot in North-east London fit only for scrap.

Locomotive preservation not only gives people the chance to still see and hear these fine machines but also brings back memories for many, of days past when they followed them on the mainline.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 50 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2011/12/01 Thu, 01 Dec 2011 07:00:00 GMT
Hello Old Friend https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2011/11/02

Back in 1984 I happened to be on a rail journey between Birmingham and Leicester. Whilst making a scheduled stop at Nuneaton, I saw Class 40 locomotive 40135 dumped in a siding. I always had a soft spot for the class so, thinking it was the last time I would see it before scrapping, I leant out of the carriage window and took a photograph.

Happily, 40135 led a charmed life and it survived scrapping twice before being bought by the Class 40 Preservation Society. The other day I visited the East Lancashire Railway, where it resides, and finally managed to obtain another photograph of the same locomotive after 27 years. It certainly looks better after all these years and the British Rail green livery seems to suit this class.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 40 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2011/11/02 Tue, 15 Nov 2011 07:00:00 GMT
Decay Or Authentic? https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2011/11/01 31289, "Class 31"31289_20111030_0231289 bodywork detail

Whilst visiting the Northampton & Lamport Railway the other day I had the pleasure of riding behind Class 31, locomotive 31289. Admittedly it is 50 years old but it did look its age and I thought it sad. On reflection however - perhaps this is how some of our heritage locomotives should appear if we're seeking true authenticity.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) Class 31 https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2011/11/01 Tue, 01 Nov 2011 07:00:00 GMT
Seeing An Icon https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2011/10/01

One of the highlights of 2011 for me was attending the Deltic 50 event at the National Railway Museum, Shildon. This was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the British Rail Class 55 Deltics’ introduction onto the East Coast Main Line (ECML).

It was over 35 years since I had seen the iconic DP1 DELTIC. The last time I had seen it was when, as a small boy, I had visited the Science Museum in London. Its sheer size, distinctive powder-blue livery and cream chevron markings on its huge nose made a lasting impression on me.

martinhart@fastmail.co.uk (English Electric Archive - British Rail Class 50 locomotives) DP1 Deltic https://www.englishelectric.org.uk/blog/2011/10/01 Sat, 15 Oct 2011 06:00:00 GMT