Timeline 1958-1982

A look at notable railway events covering the first 25 years of the first generation diesels and electrics, 1958 - 1982.

Click on a year below, submit a search, or scroll down the page.

1958

1959

1960

1961

1962

1963

1964

1965

1966

1967

1968

1969

1970

1971

1972

1973

1974

1975

1976

1977

1978

1979

1980

1981

1982

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Note:- Although class designations were not introduced until the late 1960's, they are used here in all the notes in this section for the purpose of identification of locomotives.


1958

January -  
First of the NBL Warships introduced - D600 Active. More.

Metropolitan Vickers Co-Co gas-turbine locomotive No. 18100 withdrawn from service for conversion into prototype 25kv ac locomotive No. E1000. 

With the first of the Class 31 locomotives, D5500, being delivered in October 1957, D5503 becomes the first of 1958.
                  
Fifteen of the Class 20 locomotives had already been introduced in 1957 with D8000 being the first main line
locomotive delivered under the modernisation programme. D8016 becomes the first of 1958.                   

February -
With the first of the Class 15 locomotives, D8200, being delivered in November 1957, D8201 becomes the first of 1958.

March - 
First of the Class 40 locomotives introduced - D200.

May - 
First of the NBL Class 16 locomotives introduced - D8400. 

July - 
First of the Class 42 Warships introduced - D800 Sir Brian Robertson.

First of the Class 26 locomotives introduced - D5300.                
                 
First of the Class 28 Co-Bo's introduced - D5700. More here.

August -
First of the Class 24 locomotives introduced - D5000. More.

October -
Former gas-turbine locomotive No. 18100 re-introduced as prototype 25kv electric locomotive No. E1000.

November -
BR/Fell protoype No. 10100 withdrawn from service. 

25kv electric locomotive No. E1000 hauls its first passenger train on the newly electrified section between Crewe and Manchester.                

December - 
First of the NBL Class 21 locomotives introduced - D6100.

First of the Class 71 750v dc locomotives introduced - E5001.

 


1959

January -   
First of the Class 22 NBL hydraulic locomotives introduced - D6300.

Construction of the first mainline diesels to be built at Crewe begins with D5030.

February -
It is reported that the new Class 44 locomotives under construction at Derby Locomotive Works are to be named after National Trust properties.

March -
The overnight Condor service begins between Hendon & Glasgow using pairs of MetroVick Type 2's. First to haul the trains are D5710 & D5708.

More orders for NBL are confirmed for a further 32 2000hp B-B 'Warship' locomotives. The machines are to be numbered D605 - D637.

Dining service prices are increased on trains to 7s 6d (0.37½ p) for breakfast and 10s 6d (0.52½ p) for dinner.

May - 
First of the Class 23 'Baby Deltics' introduced - D5900. On introduction the machines are known as 'Small Deltics'.

British Railways releases details of the names to be applied to the new Type 4 "Warship" diesels Nos. D804 - D865. More.

It is announced that names are to be applied to the seven EM2 (Class 77), and 12 of the EM1 (Class 76) locomotives. More.

July - 
First of the Class 44 'Peaks' introduced - D1 Scafell Pike. On introduction the new Class 44's take up services on fast passenger and parcels workings between Euston, Crewe, Carlisle and Glasgow.

Orders worth 11m are placed for a further 55 English Electric Type 4 (Class 40) and 75 Brush Type 2 (Class 31) locomotives.

August -
NBL prototype Bo-Bo No. 10800 withdrawn from service. Photo.

Warship D809 Champion  emerges from Swindon Works along with 9F 2-10-0 92210.

September -
At the time of nationalisation British Railways employed nearly 9000 horses. By this year the figure had dwindled to 66.

A new numbering system is announced for new electric locomotives using the prefix letter 'E'. Dc locomotives will be numbered in the 5xxx range (as used by the dc traction already built), whilst with ac traction the first number will give an indication of its horsepower. Thus, the prototype ac electric locomotive No. E1000 is to be renumbered E2001; new electric traction on order will be given the numbers E30xx for type 'A' locomotives and E33xx for type 'B'.

Prototype 25kv electric locomotive No. E1000 renumbered E2001 as detailed in the note above.

Class 40 locomotives take over services between Kings Cross and Doncaster usually hauled by English Electric prototype Deltic  whilst the experimental machine undergoes overhaul.

The Peaks (Class 44's) are regularly diagrammed for St Pancras - Manchester services.

November -
First of the AL1 (Class 81) 25kv electric locomotives introduced - E3001. The machine is handed over to the London Midland Region by Associated Electrical Industries Limited at a ceremony at Sandbach, Cheshire on the 27th of the month.

The first Blue Pullmans are tested on the Midland mainline. 

The Class 26's initially operate over the Highland Mainline on freights duties.

Derby Carriage & Wagon Works completes its 1000th diesel railcar - Motor Composite No. M51562. Photo.

 


1960

January - 
First of the Class 33 locomotives introduced - D6500.

Finsbury Park diesel depot opens. More.

Darlington delivers its first main line diesel locomotive, D5094.

DMU's take over the St Pancras - Bedford suburban services.

March -
First of the NBL AL4 (Class 84) 25kv electric locomotives introduced - E3036.

The last steam locomotive to be built by British Railways, Class 9F 2-10-0 No. 92220 is named Evening Star  at a ceremony where it was constructed, Swindon works, on the 18th of the month.

May -
Midland Blue Pullman services commence between London St. Pancras & Manchester Central.

D210 becomes the first Class 40 to be named - Empress Of Britain. Twenty four further Class 40's receive names over the next three years with D229 becoming the last in March 1963. D226 is allocated the name Media , the plates are cast, but mysteriously, are never fitted. More.

First of the Beyer-Peacock AL2 (Class 82) 25kv electric locomotives introduced - E3046.

July -
First of the AL3 (Class 83) 25kv electric locomotives introduced - E3024.

September -
The Western Region introduces its first Blue Pullman services.

Electrification of the WCML is completed between Crewe and Manchester. Electric loco and multiple-unit working commence on the 12th of the month.

October - 
First of the Class 45 locomotives introduced - D11.

The first British Railways griddle car runs between Bristol and Paddington on preliminary service trials.

The first reported sighting of a Class 33 locomotive (D6527)  at Reading takes place when the locomotive passes through the station en-route from its manufacturers to Hither Green depot.

November -
The first stage of the Glasgow suburban electrification system is commissioned.

December - 
First of the Class 37 locomotives introduced D6700.

Brown-Boveri A1A - A1A gas-turbine locomotive No. 18000 withdrawn from service.


A new depot for the maintenance of diesel locomotives has been brought into use at Finsbury Park by the Eastern Region of British Railways. The cost has been about 300,000. It is on the west side of the Great Northern main line, on the site of the Clarence Yard goods depot, south of Finsbury Park station. Kings Cross passenger and goods stations are only some two miles distant, and Ferme Park Marshalling Yard, Harringay, and the London area carriage sidings also are easy of access.
When working to full capacity, the new depot will maintain 152 main-line and suburban diesel locomotives and 31 shunters. Although daily servicing at present is being undertaken, it eventually will deal  solely with periodical examinations and light repairs. General servicing facilities, involving the replenishment of fuel oil, sand and water, will be available at Kings Cross, Hornsley and Hitchin, were most of the locomotives join their trains.
The principle building of the depot is the maintenance shed. This is a steel-framed structure with a single overall span of 111ft 6in., and a height from rail level to the eaves of 18ft 6in. The roof covering is double skinned asbestos cement with glass fibre insulation and continuous glazing. The sides consist of dwarf brick walls with full glazing above. The whole structure is carried on piles, of which there are approximately 400.
The shed contains six tracks, each of which will accommodate three locomotives. Permanent working platforms at cab floor level enable the workshop staff to reach easily the uppermost parts of the engine.
Electrically-operated sliding doors have been provided for each road at the open end of the shed. Heating of the building is by continuous radiant strips, supplied from an automatic oil-fired boiler. Electric ventilating fans have also been installed. The workshop equipment includes overhead runway lifting hoists, compressed air plants, battery charging facilities, and oil and air filter cleaning and engine injector test equipment. Service pipes, colour coded, serve all parts of the depot.
The rail approach to the shed is from the north end, and the refueling points, together with sanding dispensers, are situated on the approach lines. At the entrance a fixed five ton jib crane has been installed to handle heavy stores and locomotive components.
To the south of the shed stands the two- storied combined staff amenities and office block, which incorporates a mess room, lecture room and first aid room. Between this building and the shed is a workshop and stores at platform level, with further stores beneath.
On the west side of the shed, a rail connected loading and unloading platform equipped with a one-ton runway lifting hoist has been erected to handle general stores, lubricating oil containers and recovered scrap metal. Beyond stands the combined  boiler and compressor house. This is of brick construction and is carried on a reinforced concrete platform. The outstanding feature is the chimney, which is 55ft high and of reinforced concrete construction, with an enlarged lower portion to house later part of a water softening installation.
The depot was designed and has been built, under the general direction of the Chief Civil Engineer of the Eastern Region, to allow modification for dealing with the maintenance of electric locomotives at a future date.


The British Transport Commission has concluded contracts for another 50 main line diesel-hydraulic locomotives, to be built by Beyer Peacock (Hymek) Limited, and 98 more sets of engines and electric transmissions from English Electric Co. Ltd., to equip 350-hp diesel shunting locomotives which are being erected in British Railways workshops at Darlington (35) and Horwich (63). All the mainline locomotives and 41 of the shunters are for the Western Region. The London Midland Region will have 40 of the remaining shunting locomotives, the Eastern Region seven, the Scottish Region four, and the Southern Region six. The total value of the orders is about 5.5 million. The 50 main line locomotives, which will have 1700hp Maybach diesel engines and Mekydro hydraulic transmission incorporating gearbox and oil-operated torque converters are an extension of an earlier order for 45 locomotives of the same type. The total of 95 locomotives is for further stages of the Western Regions schemes for the replacement of steam by diesel power in the Bristol area, the West of England (west of Newton Abbot), and in South Wales, including the principle passenger, parcels and freight services, and many other trains between these areas and London (Paddington). Deliveries of the 95 main-line locomotives will begin next year and will be completed in 1963.
The English Electric Co. Ltd. completed its one-hundredth 2000hp 1Co-Co1 diesel electric locomotive for British Railways in October, when D299 left the Vulcan Foundry works at Newton-le-Willows. It was delivered to Doncaster , for acceptance trials on behalf of the London Midland Region. Since 1958, when D200 entered service on the Great Eastern Line, these type 4 diesel locomotives have been allocated to principal East and West Coast route services. Two hundred of the 450 main-line diesel locomotives ordered to date from the English Electric Co. Ltd. under British Railways modernisation plan are for this type.

 

 


1961

January -
The nineteen Metrovick Class 28 Co-Bo locomotives are all placed into store over this and the following month pending engine modifications.

February - 
First of the Class 55 Deltics introduced - D9000 & D9001.

The first automatic level crossing half-barriers are introduced. More.

Class 33 locomotive No. D6504 is loaned to Finsbury Park depot from Hither Green for trials. On the 14th of the month the locomotive hauls a train of eth stock from Hornsey to Craigentinny returning the following day. The trail is repeated on the 16th and 17th of the month.

March -  
English Electric prototype Deltic  withdrawn from service and preserved at the Science Museum, London. Photo.

Sightings on the 4th of the month at Newton Abbot include D832 Onslaught, , D823 Hermes , and D603 Conquest   piloted by GW 4-6-0 No. 6991 Acton Burnell Hall.

April - 
First of the Class 25 locomotives introduced - D5151.

Railrovers this year will cost 5 0s (5.00) for the 'West of England' and 'Freedom of Wales', 9 10s (9.50) for each of the London Midland and Western Region tickets, and 16 0s (16.00) for the all line Railrover.

Class 45 locomotive No. D13 is loaned to Darnall depot for crew training on the Midland main line.

May - 
First of the Class 35 'Hymek' locomotives introduced - D7000. 

Gas turbine locomotive GT3 introduced. Photo.                

June -  
First of the Class 27 locomotives introduced - D5347.

First of the AL5 (Class 85) 25kv electric locomotives introduced - E3057 & E3058.

D9007 becomes the first Deltic to be named - Pinza. More.

October -  
First of the Class 46 locomotives introduced - D138.

Brush prototype D0280 Falcon  introduced. Photo. More here

Warship D870 Zulu  is introduced. The locomotive is built with electric train heating but the equipment is removed before the machine enters service.           

December - 
First of the Class 52 'Western' locomotives introduced - D1000 Western Enterprise.  Photo. On the 12 of the month the Class 52 is piloted from Swindon to Paddington by Brush prototype No. D0280 Falcon  for its naming ceremony.

Meal prices on British Railways restaurant cars are increased. Breakfast rises from 8s (0.40p) to 8s 6d (0.42½ p), lunch from 11s (0.55p) to 12s 6d (0.62½ p) and dinner from 12s (0.60p) to 13s 6d (0.72½ p).

Three months after being named Crepello  Class 55 Deltic No. D9012 is involved in a quadruple freight train collision at Connington. The Deltic is derailed and seriously damaged.

Stratford commences applying half-yellow warning panels to the ends of its Brush Type 2 (Class 31) diesels. Two of the first to be treated are D5695 & D5699.

 


1962

January -
Over the next few months a complete changeover from steam to diesel traction is to take place on the West Highland and Glasgow - Oban lines.

February -
First of the Class 73 electro-diesels introduced - E6001. The locomotive begins trial runs between Eastleigh works and  Basingstoke on the 6th of the month.

The Class 20 locomotives start to appear with half yellow warning panels applied to the cab/nose ends. At the same time, all main line locomotives passing through Swindon works are receiving the new embellishments.

March -
The Eastern Region now has 170 miles of continuously welded track, with one section between Retford and Doncaster 5½ miles in length.

April - 
BRCW prototype D0260 Lion  introduced. More. 

On the 14th of the month, Class 46 locomotive No. D163 (46 026) is named Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry  in a ceremony at Derby station. More.

May - 
English Electric prototype DP2 introduced. Photo.

On the 1st of the month, the new station at Coventry opens.

June -
The North Eastern Region experiments with vending machines on its trains. A standard side corridor coach is modified to include six machines dispensing soft drinks, snacks and cigarettes.

August - 
Railway unions are informed that with the swift elimination of steam power on BR, 19,000 workshop staff are to be made redundant over the next five years.

Crewe works announces the names to be fitted to 'Western' locomotives D1036 - D1062. More.

Prototype locomotive D0260 Lion  travels from Swindon to Plymouth for 'start from rest' trails with a 16 coach load on Hemmerdon Bank.

September - 
First of the Class 17 Claytons introduced - D8500.

First of the Class 47 locomotives introduced - D1500. Photo.

Cardiff Canton shed is closed to steam traction.

October -
Gas turbine locomotive GT3 withdrawn from service.

 


1963

February -
Class 52 'Western' No. D1045 Western Viscount  becomes the first of its class to be allocated to the new partially opened Landore depot. Its first duties are crew training turns.

March
On the 27th of the month, the infamous Dr. Beechings reports on the 'Reshaping Of British Railways' are published. More here & here.

April -  
Eight out of the ten Class 23 'Baby Deltics' stand withdrawn at Stratford after serious crankcase and cylinder fractures cripple the fleet. All ten were eventually returned to Vulcan works for extensive modification, a move that would take some two years to complete.

British Railways 'Red Star' parcels service is introduced.

May -
New diesel depot at Landore opens.

Steam traction on main line services cease on the ECML south of Peterborough.

June - 
English Electric announces that its Stephenson locomotive works is to close with the loss of 900 jobs. 800 out of a total of 3000 positions are also in doubt at the companies Vulcan Foundry.

The first reported sighting of a Class 37 locomotive in Devon - D6847.

The first NBL type 2 D61xx No. D6123 is rebuilt with a Paxman Ventura engine and is uprated to 1350hp. The locomotive now supports two-tone green livery.

July - 
Diesel electric prototype DP2 transferred from the LMR to the east coast route to allow a direct comparison in performance with the Deltics.

Class 37 locomotive No. D6703 is in service with a nameplate fitted but boarded over. It is reported that sister machine No. D6707 has emerged from Doncaster works carrying the nameplates The East Anglian Regiment,  and at a later date, a third, D6704 is to receive a name. More.

Comedian Tony Hancock is the central figure in a series of British Railways press advertisements promoting the facts about the progress being made in the improvement of services.

August -
In the early hours of the 8th of the month, an ambush by robbers on a mail train at Sears Crossing between Leighton Buzzard and Cheddington relieve it of a staggering 2.5million, in what later becomes known as the 'Great Train Robbery'. The locomotive heading the ill-fated train is Class 40 No. D326. The full story of the robbery can be found here and here.

Only 11 months old, and Class 52 Western No. D1040 Western Queen  sees its 'B' end cab totally destroyed when the locomotive, hauling a 'Birmingham Pullman' service, collides with a freight train at Knowle & Dorridge station. Two BR staff loose their lives.

Daily excursions from Barrow to Southport from July 29th to the 2nd of this month are worked by Class 28 Metrovick locomotives Nos. D5702/3/9 & 16.

September -
Stewarts Lane depot closed to steam traction.

October - 
BRCW prototype D0260 Lion 'reported' to be withdrawn from service, although unconfirmed reports suggest the locomotive was running at least until January 1964.

November - 
D0280 Falcon  'reported' to be being re-engined with Paxman Ventura engines.

BR reduces the first class fare on the mid-day Midland Blue Pullman service from St.Pancras to Leicester to 29s 6d (1.47).

Class 45 locomotive no. D54 becomes the first diesel locomotive to carry the name of a corps of the British Army - The Royal Pioneer Corps.

New diesel maintenance shed commences operations at March.

December -  
LMS Pioneer 10000 withdrawn from service. Photo.

SR/BR 1Co-Co1 prototypes Nos. 10201, 2 & 3 withdrawn. Photo.

It is reported that a number that a number of Class 52 Western locomotives have been withdrawn due to bearing failures in the hydraulic transmissions.

On the 6th of the month, Class 45 locomotive No. D94 is seriously damaged when it collides with a freight train at Stanton Gate South. Two BR employees loose their lives.

 


1964

January -
The first 'electronic' ticket barrier is installed at Stamford Brook on the District Line of the London Underground system.

Former LMSR 0-6-0 diesel shunter No. 12022 is the last diesel repair to be turned out of Horwich works.

FA cup special workings on the 25th of the month see Class 35 Hymek locomotives Nos. D7004/28/41 visit Crewe with trains for Manchester. The trains are carried forward to their destinations by electric locomotives.

February -
The first 'merry-go-round' trains are announced whereby locomotives will convey coal from colliery to power stations and return for replenishment of its payload.

Devons Road, BR's first all diesel depot is closed, and its allocation of locomotives transferred to Willesden and Stratford.

English Electric prototype DP2 commences working the 15.20 Pullman service from Sheffield to Kings Cross and the down Master Cutler  service from the capital.

March -
After a full report was put together by the British and French governments, the decision is made to implement the channel tunnel project.

Cheap family fares are announced by British Railways for midweek travel. The return fare for two adults and two children between London and Edinburgh on the ECML is 15 4s (15.20).

For the first time, a Deltic hauled 'Flying Scotsman' service leaves Edinburgh Waverley bearing the winged thistle crest headboard. The board, constructed of fibre-glass, is the product of the BRB's design centre.

Electric working on the WCML is extended from Stafford to Nuneaton.

Standard flat bottom rail has now replaced all bullhead rail for all the departure and arrival roads at Paddington.

April -
Tinsley depot opens, inheriting Darnall's allocation of locomotives and its 41A shed code.

Work commences on the 2.5 million reconstruction of Birmingham New Street station.

Class 17 Clayton locomotive No. D8588 is noted with a freight working on the Middlesborough - Whitby line.

May -
Class 08 shunter No. D3209 is noted carrying an LMS builders plate dated 1956.

The Western Regions Blue Pullman sets start to receive their first overhaul at Swindon Works.

The prototype XP64 demonstration train is introduced. More here and official documentation can be found here.

The railway research department at Derby commences operations.

June -
BR places more orders for locomotives, 330 for diesel-electrics and 30 for electro-diesels. The reported contracts are for the following - Brush type 4 2750hp Co-Co (Class 47), 100 from Brush Electrical Engineering Co. Ltd, 30 from Crewe Works, BR. English Electric type 3 1750hp Co-Co (Class 37), 70 from English Electric Co. Ltd. Derby type 2 1250hp Bo-Bo (Class 25), 54 from Beyer-Peacock Gorton Ltd, 26 from Derby Works, BR. English Electric type 1 Bo-Bo 1000hp Bo-Bo (Class 20), 50 from English Electric Co. Ltd., and electro-diesels 1600/600hp Bo-Bo (Class 73), electrical equipment for 30 from English Electric Co. Ltd., locomotives to be built at Crewe works, BR.

The first of the Class 23 Baby Deltics, D5904, returns to service after engine modifications.

On the 15th of the month, the XP64 demonstration train works the 'up' 'Talisman' 8.00am Edinburgh-Kings Cross headed by Deltic D9014 The Duke Of Wellington's Regiment.

The first section of the ECML, 17 miles between Peterborough and Grantham, is passed for 100mph operation.

July - 
First of the Class 14 locomotives introduced - D9500 - 5.

The first experiments are carried out on the Scottish Region with orange 'fire-fly' luminous jackets for permanent way staff. If these experiments are successful the jackets may be adopted throughout British Railways.

August -
The only BR diesel locomotive to be painted blue, the XP64 liveried Class 47 No. D1733, visits Paddington station on the 20th of the month.

As a prelude to the class taking over services on the Waterloo-Exeter services, Warship D827 Kelly  hauls the 19.00 service on the 20th of the month.

September -
Cardiff Canton diesel depot opens on the 18th of the month.

On the 22nd of the month, British Railways agrees to sell the five mile section between Keithley and Oxenhope to the Keithley & Worth Valley Railway.

The first stage of the opening of the new diesel depot at Toton commences with the opening of the fueling bay. The servicing and light maintenance bays open in November, and the heavy maintenance section opens in February 1965.

November -
Electrification on the WCML is extended from Nuneaton to Rugby.

December -
Gale force winds blow seven motor vehicles off a goods train crossing Ribblehead Viaduct on the 8th of the month. Two of the vehicles land in the valley below.

 


1965

January -
An exhibition is held at the Design Centre, London launching BR's new corporate identity programme 'The new face of British Railways'. From advertising material of the time comes:- "This programme, which covers the design of everything from tableware and uniforms to train liveries and the whole range of printed material, is intended to both project the forward looking character of the railways to the public and highlight the improvements which have been made since the industry's modernisation plan was launched in 1955."   

Station platform 'BRUTES', British Rail Universal Trolley Equipment, have passed regional trails and are given the go-ahead to be introduced nationwide. 

On the 30th of the month, the funeral train of Sir Winston Churchill is conveyed between Waterloo and Handborough headed by 'Battle of Britain' steam locomotive No. 34051 Sir Winston Churchill.

Five years since withdrawal and gas-turbine locomotive No. 18000 starts its return journey to its manufacturers in Winterthur, Switzerland. Photo.

From the 16th of the month, all main-line diesel locomotives on the Midland lines cease to be allocated to specific depots and are allocated to divisions. The following new codes are introduced - ML, Midland Lines, D14, London (Midland) Division, D15, Leicester Division and D16 Nottingham Division.

February -
The first of 70 MkII coaching stock vehicles are in production at Derby Carriage Works.

March -
The 6th of the month is the last day of through services between Grosmont and Malton on what is now the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Class 40 No. D239 is one of the last locomotives to traverse the route on this day.

After extensive trials by Brush, its manufacturer, D0280 Falcon  enters service with British Railways.

The traditional oil lamp used by footplate staff is to be withdrawn and replaced with an electric battery powered version.

On the 29th of the month, a train headed by Class 29 NBL locomotives Nos. D6117 & D6118 runs into the rear of a ballast train at Greenhill South. D6118 is extensively damaged.

Class 47 locomotive No. D1661 is named North Star.

Class 47 locomotive No. D1662 is named Isambard Kingdom Bunell.  Photo.

Class 47 locomotive No. D1666 is named Odin.

April -
The new diesel depot at Barrow Hill is brought fully into use. Amongst its first allocations are Class 17 Clayton locomotives Nos. D8604 - D8615, transferred from Tinsley.

Class 28 Metrovick Co-Bo locomotives Nos. D5701/5/9/10/1/6/7/8 are allocated to Barrow for work on passenger and freight trains between Carnforth and Workington.

May - 
First of the newly converted Class 13 locomotives placed into service, allocated to Tinsley. On introduction the two former Class 08 shunters are coupled together cab to cab.

The last of the Class 23 'Baby Deltics' returned to service at Finsbury Park after extensive engine refurbishment. (see note for April 1963)

From the 25th of the month, Crewe North and Rugby motive power depots are closed to steam traction.

On the 7th of the month, Class 40 locomotive No. D350 runs through catch points at Preston-le-Skerne, carries on down an embankment, and comes to rest on its side. Its train jack-knifes and fouls the main line into which sister locomotive D352, with a Manchester-Newcastle newspaper train, collides. In an amazing coincidence, on the same farmland near to where D350 now lies, a USAF jet crashes just a few days later!

Class 47 locomotive No. D1664 is named Sir Daniel Gooch.

June -
First of the AL6 (Class 86) 25kv electric locomotives introduced - E3105/6/8-11.

A change-over to the 24 hour clock system for timetables and station departure/arrival information is completed by the London Midland Region.

The infamous Dr.Beeching, Chairman of the British Railways Board, leaves his employment with the company.

The new diesel depot at Margam is now fully operational.

On the 11th of the month 'Castle' class No. 7029 Clun Castle  hauls the last regularly scheduled steam working out of Paddington station.

Class 47 locomotive No. D1660 is named City Of Truro.

Class 47 locomotive No. D1667 is named Atlas.

August -
Class 47 locomotive No. D1670 is named Mammoth.  Photo.

Class 47 locomotive No. D1672 is named Colossus.

September -
Class 47 locomotive No. D1671 is named Thor.  (More: see note for December of this year)

Class 47 locomotive No. D1674 is named Samson.

October -
Class 47 locomotive No. D1668 is named Orion.  Photo.

Class 47 locomotive No. D1676 is named Vulcan.

November -
Class 47 locomotive No. D1675 is named Amazon.

December - 
Class 47 No. D1671 Thor  and Class 37 No. D6983 withdrawn due to severe accident damage. The Class 37 becomes the first of its class to be withdrawn, and the class 47 the second. More. The Class 47's nameplates are re-applied to D1677 in August of the following year.

 


1966

March -
LMS/BR 10001 withdrawn from service. Photo.

Class 47 locomotive No. D1669 is named Python.

June - 
The BRB announce a decision that all motive power and carriage stock are to be be painted rail blue. More.

August -
Class 47 locomotive No. D1665 is named Titan.

Class 47 locomotive No. D1677 is named Thor.  (See note for December 1965.)

Complications at Crewe works in converting SR Class 71 dc locomotives to Class 74 electro-diesels leave engineers wondering if they have to lengthen the locomotives.

Class 52 'Western' No. D1037 Western  Empress  is amongst one of the first of its class to emerge from Swindon works in blue livery, although somewhat different from the corporate image - chromatic blue.

On the 6th of the month, Class 08 shunter No. D3778 is tested on the Buxton - Middleton section of the former C&HPR.

September -
The first of the former London Underground coaches, driving trailer S38S, arrives on the Isle of Wight in preparation for the future electrification project. At the same time, Class 05 locomotive No. D2554 enters Eastleigh works for modifications to its cab roof prior to it being shipped to the island.

October -
Class 55 Deltic locomotive No. D9002 The Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry  becomes the first of its class to receive rail blue livery.

 


1967

January -  
Class 25 No. 7667 becomes the 1000th diesel locomotive to be built at Derby locomotive Works. More.

March -
Birmingham Snow Hill station ceases operation as a main line station.

April-
The Middleton Top - Fridden section of the Cromford & High Peak line is closed. The line closes to all traffic this September.

May-
It is reported that Class 28 Metrovick Co-Bo locomotives Nos. D5703/4/5 & 7 are at Crewe works in the process of being re-engined.

The penultimate Class 47, D1960, is delivered to Derby from the Brush works at Loughborough.

York allocated Class 04 shunters D2260/1 & D2263/4 are respectively permanently paired to form single units. Placed cab to cab, the normal couplings are retained and the units are electrically paired by the use of 14 jumper cables.

Class 55 Deltic D9006 arrives at Hull with the 08.55 service from Kings Cross. It is thought to be the first of its type to visit the station.

On the 26th of the month, South Blyth shed closes to steam traffic.

June -
From the 12th of the month York shed closes to steam traction.

July -
English Electric prototype DP2 is destroyed after hitting a derailed cement train at Thirsk. Its train is partially derailed and seven passengers are killed. Photo. The official accident report can be found here.

Class 35 'Hymek' No. D7035 works through to Ipswich with a special train of loaded bogie car flats destined for Felixstowe docks. The locomotive returns to the WR light engine.

Although only inter-city DMU's  are officially to be painted in the 'new' blue and grey livery (cross-country units in all over blue), the Western Region defies orders and starts to outshop all its DMU stock in the former livery. 

On the 24th of the month, SR electric locomotive No. 20001 works the Royal train conveying the Queen from Waterloo - Winchester. The locomotive appears in ex-works BR blue livery.

August -
170 steam locomotives await cutting at Woodham Bros., Barry, South Wales.

Class 35 'Hymek' crew training begins at Bromsgrove in readiness for members of the class to be employed on banking duties on the Lickey Incline. The first to be allocated to the shed: - D7011.

Tyseley depot  takes charge of 'Warships' D833 Panther  & D836 Powerful   for crew training duties. The depot is expected to take on a considerable allocation of the NBL version of the class to replace Class 47's employed on Paddington - Birmingham New Street services.

September - 
English Electric prototype DP2 withdrawn after severe accident damage at Thirsk. (see above note)

The first Class 40, D322, is withdrawn due to accident damage and becomes the only member of its class not to receive a TOPS number.

On the 4th of the month, Nottingham Victoria station closes.

October -
First of the Class 50 locomotives introduced - D400. Photo.

The first of the AM9 electric multiple units appear in blue and grey livery; several examples have the yellow front-end warning panels painted only on the gangway doors, blue and grey being carried round to the front of the units.

November -
Converted from Class 71 750v dc electric locomotives, the first Class 74 locomotive, E6102 introduced. Conversions are undertaken at Crewe.

On the 5th of the month, a serious accident occurs at Hither Green when a twelve coach train made up of demu units 1007 & 1017 derails after hitting a fractured section of rail. 49 passengers are killed and 78 are injured. The official accident report can be found here.

December - 
All of the NBL D600 'Warships'  withdrawn.

 


1968

January - 
Brush prototype HS4000 Kestrel introduced. Photo.

AL1 locomotive No. E3009 is destroyed at Hixon after hitting a transformer being towed over a level crossing by a lorry. Three BR staff in the locomotives cab and eight passengers in its following train loose their lives. The official accident report can be found here.

February -
First of the NBL type 1 Class 16 locomotives withdrawn from service - D8404. The rest of the class became extinct in this year.

Withdrawn locomotives at Carlisle Kingmoor depot include Class 28 Metrovick diesels D5700/3/4/9/10/3.

March -
The first BTH Type 1 Class 15 locomotive is withdrawn from service - D8217.

Noted at Crewe are 'new' Class 50 locomotives D400/1/4/5/7-10/2.

April -
25kv ac prototype electric locomotive No. E2001 (formerly E1000) withdrawn from service.

June -
BR introduce a new numerical class designation system for all diesel and electric locomotives, the system that is still in use today.  *(Contrary to popular belief, the NBL 'D600' Warships  are NOT listed as Class 41.)*

The BR Research Department at Derby announce the Advanced Passenger Train (APT) project.

The BRB proposes to the government a steady annual renewal programme of locomotive hauled stock. No agreement can be made and it is reported that the proposed MkIII coach is unlikely to be ever produced.

July -
First of the Clayton Class 17 locomotives withdrawn from service - D8537. The machine is only five years old.

From the first of the month, the St. Pancras - Manchester semi-fast service is rerouted via Chesterfield and the Hope Valley line. This allows closure of the Peak Forest Line north of Matlock.

Doubts are cast concerning the electrification of the WCML between Weaver Junction, Carlisle and Glasgow. If the project does take place, however, this will allow the withdrawal of all the Class 52 'Western' locomotives, to be replaced by the Class 50 machines on the Western Region.

August - 
First of the Class 42 'Warships' withdrawn from service - D801 Vanguard.  Photo.

Steam traction on British Railways comes to an end.

Diesel locomotives on display at the Derby Locomotive Works open day include Class 45, D55 Royal  Signals  and Brush/Hawker-Siddeley prototype HS4000 Kestrel.

Unusually for this date, 'Warship' D838 Rapid  is outshopped by Swindon in maroon livery.

The first locomotives to loose their 'D' prefix emerge from Derby Locomotive Works. They are Class 25 No. 5176 and Class 45 No. 111.

Class 44 No. D10Tryfan  is noted at its home depot, Toton, devoid of its nameplates.

September -
All of the Class 77 1500v dc 'Woodhead' Class 77 Co-Co's withdrawn from service and sold to the Netherlands.

The last of the Class 28 Metrovick Co-Bo locomotives are withdrawn from service, D5701/2/5/6/7/8/11/2/4/6/7 & 9.

The first experiments are carried out with loudspeaker announcements on Inter-City train services. Three month trails commence on certain services between London, Manchester and Liverpool.

October -
First SR/BR Co-Co electric locomotive withdrawn from service - 20003. The two remaining machines (20001 & 2), are withdrawn over the following three months.

Class 81 locomotive No. E3002 stands at Crewe Works badly damaged by fire. The locomotive consists of an underframe, bogies, and one cab, and is thought to be in this condition after the Class 81 was placed into 'reverse' whilst travelling forward at speed. It becomes the second member of its class to be withdrawn.

With the withdrawal of 29 Class 17 Clayton locomotives the remaining allocations become purely Scottish Region.

November -
Several Class 73 locomotives are to be fitted with experimental route indicators with black numerals on a white background.

Closure of the Taunton-Minehead branch (now the West Somerset Railway) scheduled for January 6th next year, has been postponed after objections are made to the South Western Area Transport Users' Consultive Committee by the Western National Omnibus Co.Ltd. who state they cannot provide a suitable alternative road service.

December -
Class 28 Metrovick Co-Bo No. D5705 enters departmental service with the BR research centre at Derby. The locomotive is renumbered 15705 and again in January 1975 to TDB968006. Photo.

Sotherby & Company, auctioneers, sell former 'Saint' class steam locomotive nameplates No. 2913 Saint Andrew  for 95 and 2927 Saint Patrick  for 165.

The last of the Class 73 locomotives to remain in green livery, E6004, undergoes overhaul at Crewe works.

The last of the build of Class 50 locomotives, 449, undergoes acceptance trails out of Crewe works and is released for traffic.

Class 20 locomotives nos. 8069 & 8186 are employed on demolition duties lifting the rails on the former Midland line between Matlock and Buxton at Monsal Dale.

 


1969

January -
The first of the named Class 47 locomotives emerges from Crewe Works in rail blue livery, 1662 Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Photo.

With the abolition of the 'D' prefix to diesel locomotive numbers, Class 52 Western locomotive No. 1026 Western Centurion  is the first noted with the letters removed from its numberplates.

Two Class 47 locomotives Nos. 1930 & 1962 are fitted with experimental route indicator blinds with 'reversed' black numerals on a white background, in an experiment to improve the visibility of locomotives at night.

On the 22nd of the month Class 55 Deltic No. 9018 Ballymoss  unusually powers the 1E00 Leeds-Sheffield Midland parcels train and the 1D20 04.30 return.

February -
Class 44 locomotive No. 9 Snowdon  is at Derby Locomotive Works with a badly damaged No.2 end after a collision at Trent. Its eventual repair leads to the machine being unique amongst its class after it is fitted with a standard Class 45 nose on this end only. See here.

March -
Class 52 Western No. 1018 Western Buccaneer  is noted running with one side badly gashed and half its nameplate destroyed.

April -
After seven years of voluntary liquidation, the North British Locomotive Company finally ceases to exist.

On the 21st of the month, Brush prototype No. 0280 Falcon  catches fire whilst working the 12.45 Paddington-Bristol. After the fire is extinguished, the locomotive continues to Bristol on one engine.

Class 84 locomotive No. E3044 is displayed at Bury Bolton Street station on the occasion of the cities 'Rail Week' from the 14th to the 19th of the month.

May - 
Pioneer Class 03 shunter D2000 withdrawn after twelve years in service.

The 19.40 down 'Abedonian' sleeping car express from Kings Cross-Aberdeen headed by Class 55 Deltic No. 9011 The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers  derails at Morpeth resulting in six passenger fatalities. Only the locomotive remains on the rails.

On the 3rd of the month the last passenger train runs on the former Great Central line between Nottingham Arkwright Street and Rugby Central.

June -
Class 40 locomotives Nos. 216 Campania  and 233 Empress Of England  haul the royal train from Euston to Caernarvon on the occasion of the the Investiture of the Prince of Wales.

July -
Class 17 Clayton locomotives Nos. 8512 & 8521 enter departmental service with the BR research department at Derby. 8512 is used as a traction unit, 8521 becomes a generator.

Cricklewood depots open day on the 12th of the month, includes visitors HS4000 Kestrel  and an ex-works (in rail blue livery) Class 40 No. 216.

Former Class 15 locomotive No. 8237 becomes the first of its type to be converted into an un-powered mobile heating unit and is renumbered DB968002. Further locomotives 8203/28/30 & 43 are at Doncaster Works for similar conversion. (Historical note:- Only four machines eventually became heating units (of which 8228 & 8230 were never used): 8203, 8233, 8237 & 8243). More.

August -
Class 55 Deltic No. 9008 The Green Howards  powers a train of ecs to Scarborough and then on to Filey Holiday Camp.

Class 33 locomotive No. 6570 is reallocated to the Research Centre at Derby for the 'development of reliability modifications'.

September -
The remaining 'Bristol Pullman' (ex-Midland Pullman) units are sent to Swindon Works for (what becomes their final) overhaul. They re-appear in the 'new' pearl grey/blue livery. Photo.

October -
On the 20th of the month Brush Hawker Siddeley prototype HS4000 Kestrel  commences passenger operations on the Eastern Region.

Class 11 0-6-0 shunter No. 12062 is at Crewe Works with its number incorrectly prefixed 'D'.

Further to the above note, the Class 11 shunter and two Class 47 bogies, find themselves inside the Crewe Works erecting shop traverser pit after being found to be left insecurely stabled during a works lunch break. The Crewe breakdown train has to be summoned to secure their release.

Class 35 Hymek locomotive No. 7046 is reported to have run light engine south, through Crewe station off the Holyhead line.

Newly converted train pre-heating unit DB968000 (ex-Class 15 No. 8243) is noted at both Heaton Carriage Sidings and Walkergate Carriage Sidings, Newcastle-upon-Tyne performing its intended duties. The two other units DB968001 (8233) and DB968002 (8237) are at Neville Hill and Bradford Exchange respectively.

On the week ending the 25th, the 'up' 'Cornish Riviera' is worked by the same pair of locomotives every day, 822 Hercules & 866 Zebra.

Class 50 locomotive No. 400 derails at the north end of Derby Midland station.

November -
Class 55 Deltic No. D9014 The Duke Of Wellingtons Regiment  is the last of its class to receive rail blue livery.

December -
Class 23 Baby Deltic No. D5901 enters departmental service with the BR research department at Derby. Photo.

On the 2nd of the month 'Collectors Corner', an outlet for the sale of redundant BR memorabilia opens at Euston.

On the 23rd of the month, passengers on the 13.15 Paddington-Worcester suffer a frustrating time when their locomotive, Warship, 842 Royal Oak  fails just outside the capital and is replaced by Class 47 locomotive No. 1664 George Jackson Churchward. The 47 works as far as Oxford where the machine meets the same fate as the Warship. The service eventually reaches its destination behind Class 22 No. 6336.

'XP64' Class 47 locomotive No. 1733 looses its unique livery and becomes standard rail blue at Crewe works.

Class 48 locomotive No. 1702 is at Crewe works for conversion into a standard Class 47. Marked on the side of the machine is 'Conv. to 1908'. This is taken to mean that 1702 is to receive the standard Sulzer 12LDA28-C engine from recently withdrawn No. 1908, also on works.

Fifteen months after withdrawal, the former Class 77 'Woodhead' electric locomotives arrive at their new home in the Netherlands.

 


1970

January -
Passenger services are withdrawn on the 'Woodhead Route' between Sheffield Victoria and Manchester Piccadilly.

Warship locomotive No. 810 Cockade  is reported to be the last of its class running in green livery.

Passenger services are withdrawn between Bangor and Caernarvon.

The forth former Class 15 locomotive train heating unit conversion, DB968003 (8203) is placed into service at Hornsey. On the 25th of the month it is noted at Finsbury Park.

February -
Approval is given for electrification of the WCML between Weaver Junction (Crewe) to Glasgow Central.

A rare multiple-working occurs on the 7th of the month when two Class 23 'Baby Deltic' locomotives Nos. 5905 & 5909 work a northbound local freight through Cambridge.

With the withdrawal of passenger services on the Woodhead Route (see note for January, above), several of the Class 76 locomotives are now running without nameplates. Included are E26050 Stenor,  E26052 Nestor,  E26055 Prometheus, and E26056 Triton.

Again, with connection to the above, Sheffield Midland station is renamed simply 'Sheffield'.

On the 7th of the month Class 55 locomotive No. 9020 Nimbus  hauls a special boat train working to Southampton.

Bristol Bath Road depot receives its first Class 37 allocation, 6969.

March -
Pioneer Class 76 locomotive 26000 Tommy   is withdrawn after 29 years of service. Sadly, the locomotive escapes preservationists and is reduced to scrap at Crewe in November 1972.

The power signalbox at Bristol Temple Meads comes into partial operation.

After an accident at Swinton, Class 45 locomotive No. 45 re-appears in traffic with a central headcode at one end, and split headcode boxes at the other.

April -
To meet rising costs, all outlets on British Rail increase the price of a cup of tea from 9d (4p) to 11d (5p).

A Royal Mail coach from the notorious 'Great Train Robbery' in 1963 (see note for August 1963), is broken up and burnt in the scrapyard of A. King & Sons Ltd. near Norwich. The operation is watched by police and security men so that nothing is left available for souvenir hunters. British Rail insist that the vehicle is completely destroyed 'as not to be invested with any spurious glamour'.

On the 25th of the month, former Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Southern Railway, O.V.S.Bullied dies, aged 87.

Brush Hawker Siddeley prototype HS4000 is allocated to Hull Dairycotes and is noted on Freightliner workings in the area.

May -
With the introduction of the new timetable on the 4th of the month, journey times on the WCML between Euston and Glasgow are cut to below six hours. The section between Crewe and Glasgow is diagrammed for two Class 50 locomotives working in multiple and all trains now consist of MkIIb stock.

On the 20th of the month, the 13.00 Sheffield-St.Pancras is unusually worked throughout by Class 20 locomotives Nos. 8071 & 8076.

The nameplates from Class 76 locomotives Diomedes, Hector, Mentor, Perseus, Pluto  and Ulysses  are removed and go on sale at BR's Collectors Corner at Euston.

On the 23rd of the month, the Britannia Bridge, spanning the Welsh mainland and Anglesey is destroyed by fire leaving Class 08 locomotives Nos. 3004, 3174, 3175 & 4137 and Class 24 locomotives Nos. 5034 & 5083 stranded on the island.

August -
Vinyl stickers are introduced on locomotives in place of cast plates for the identification of their depot allocation.

On the 14th of the month, Class 43 Warship No. 844 Spartan  works to Derby with a special from Plymouth.

A BR staff competition to suggest a fleet name for the forthcoming Advanced Passenger Train sees the winning entry as Cityliner.

On the 21st of the month, Class 43 Warship No. 845 Sprightly  arrives at Manchester Piccadilly with an unidentified train from the south.

All the nameplates have now been removed from the 'Woodhead' Class 76 dc electric locomotives.

September -
In an address to the Railway Division of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, the chief Engineer (Traction & Rolling Stock) of the BR Board, outlines the plans for new Class 41 diesel locomotives for use with future 125mph 'High Speed Trains'.

Brush Hawker Siddeley prototype HS4000 Kestrel  is amongst the visiting traction at the Barrow Hill open day on the 27th of the month.

October -
The Western Region branchline between Barnstaple and Illfracombe is closed.

After Class 86 locomotive No. E3173 is fitted with a 'dummy' fibre-glass nose, it undergoes trails with a train between Tring and Leighton Buzzard in connection with experiments for the proposed 'new' High Speed Train. Photo.

 


1971

January - 
Brush prototype HS4000 withdrawn from service and sold to the Soviet Railways.

March -
The last of the Class 23 'Baby Deltics' is withdrawn from service, D5909. The locomotive is the only member of its class to receive rail blue livery. Photo.

September - 
First of the Class 35 Hymeks withdrawn - D7006 & D7081.

October -
Argo Transacord release three titles of steam locomotive sound recordings, for the first time.. on cassette.

Over 200 steam locomotives await cutting at Woodhams scrapyard, South wales.

December -
The last of the Class 29 NBL Scottish Region Class 29 locomotives are withdrawn from service, 6112/6/9 & 33.

At Lenton South Junction, Nottingham, Class 25 locomotive No. 7605 heading a parcels train, and Class 20 locomotives Nos. 8115 & 8142 propelling a coal train, collide killing three BR staff. The Class 25 is subsequently withdrawn.

 


1972

January -
Class 17 Clayton locomotive No. 8512 is withdrawn from departmental service with the BR research department at Derby. The machine is finally cut up at BREL Glasgow works in January 1973.

The last of the Class 22 NBL diesel-hydraulic locomotives are withdrawn, 6333/6/8 & 9. More.

March -
Class 17 Clayton locomotive No. 8598 enters departmental service with the BR research department at Derby as a traction unit. Photo.

Class 52 Western No. 1052 Western Viceroy  is noted at Tinsley after a special working from Severn Tunnel Junction.

May -
Class 24 locomotive No. 5028 is totally destroyed at Chester after running away with its train and colliding with a DMU in the station. More.

June -
First of the Class 252 prototype high speed train power cars introduced - 41000. More.

July -
On the 25th of the month, the first proving run over BR metals takes place for the gas-turbine powered APT-E. Its initial journey is from the technical centre in Derby to Duffield and back and is restricted to 40mph.

August - 
Second of the Class 252 prototype high speed train power cars introduced - 41001.

The new station at Oxford opens.

November -
Pioneer Class 08 shunter No. D3000 is withdrawn after twenty years in service. The locomotive is now preserved. More.

October -
Class 50 locomotive No. 400 is transferred from the LMR to Bristol for crew training in readiness for the whole of the class to replace the Class 52 'Westerns'. 

The Derby Research Departments Class 23 'Baby Deltic' locomotive No. D5901 is at work hauling the centres tribometer train on a circuit between Derby, Birmingham, Crewe and Derby.

TOPS renumbering starts with electric locomotives; some of the first to appear are 83 006 (E3029), 84 002 (E3037), 84 008 (E3043), 84 010 (E3045), 83 014 (E3099), 86 203 (E3143), 86 201 (E3191) & 76 013 (E26013).

December -
Last of the Class 42 Warships withdrawn from service - 810 Cockade, 812 The Royal Naval Reserve 1859 - 1959,  821 Greyhound,  824 Highflyer  & 832 Onslaught.

 


1973

May - 
First of the Class 52 'Westerns' withdrawn, D1019 Western Challenger  & D1032 Western Marksman.

Depot codes on TOPS are first utilised.

TOPS renumbering of diesel locomotives started. Class 45 No. 96 becomes the first ever, receiving its new number 45 101.(More on the diesel locomotives that remained in green livery after TOPS renumbering.) British Rail 1973 Locomotive Renumbering Scheme.

June -
First of the Class 87 locomotives introduced - 87 001/2.

Usually booked for Class 31 traction, the 08.15 Paddington - Barnstaple and 14.40 return, see's 'Hymek' No. 7028 work the diagram on the 23rd of the month and Class 52 No. 1055 Western Advocate  on the 30th.

Class 50 locomotives Nos. 400 & 401 now regularly work WR services between Paddington and Bristol.

November -
Class 50 No. 400 is at Plymouth on crew training exercises.

Several Class 40 locomotives are now seen running without their nameplates. Noted are 211 Mauretania, 213 Andania, 220 Franconia, 221 Ivernia, 225 Lusitania, 231 Slyvania  and 235 Apapa.

December -
Class 52 Western No. 1007 Western Talisman  and its train totally derails at 70mph at West Ealing. There are ten fatalities. The cause is found to be an open battery box door striking the operating rods of facing points at Longfield Avenue. D1007 comes to rest on its side and is subsequently withdrawn.

Class 50 locomotive No. D426, even at this late date, is still carrying its 'D' prefix.

 


1974

January -
The renumbering of the traction fleet continues, and it is reported that Class 31 locomotive No. 5814 is observed carrying this number on one side and 31 414 on the other.

May -
Electric train services introduced along the full length of the WCML.

It is reported that 15 Class 50 locomotives will be retained by the LM for Carlisle-Settle and Carlisle-Glasgow freight services after the rest of the class are transferred to the WR.

The prototype Class 252 High Speed Train completes its first 100,000 miles of test running.

Class 50 locomotive No. 50 003 arrives at Penzance and becomes the first of its class to work west of Plymouth.

June -
Class 24 locomotive No. 24 063, still in Brunswick Green livery, continues to carry its 34G (Finsbury Park) cast shed plates on its end gangway doors.

Class 53 Brush prototype No. 1200 Falcon  returns to its birthplace at Loughborough for somewhat unexplained reasons. More.

July-
After being stored at St.Philips Marsh, Bristol, for nearly two years, Class 35 Hymek locomotives Nos. 7076 & 7096 are towed to Cardiff Canton for tyre turning prior to their use by the BR research department.

August -
Class 35 Hymeks Nos. 7076 & 7096 enter departmental service as dead weight vehicles for the BR research department at Derby.

The renovation of some 1800 passenger vehicles of the first generation DMU's sees the first three enter service in the form of a Metropolitan-Cammell unit. It is the first to carry the 'reversed' livery of white with a rail blue band.

October -
Prototype Class 252 High Speed Train power car No. 43000 emerges from Crewe works after an overhaul. The car now carries the set number 252 001.

Class 35 Hymek locomotive No. 7022 makes an unexplained visit to Crewe Diesel depot.

November -
Departmental Class 17 Clayton locomotive No. 8598 is noted at Longsight depot coupled to a test coach.

The final Class 87 locomotive No. 87 036 only awaits bogies at Crewe for completion. It emerges in March 1975 as 87 101.

Class 50 locomotive No. 50 021 is noted at Haymarket depot.

December -
The Class 252 Prototype High Speed Train enters service on the Western Region. After technical testing and crew training the set is due to enter passenger service in March 1975.

 


1975

January -
On the 23rd of the month Class 83 ac electric locomotive No. 83 009, heading a Euston service, becomes derailed after hitting an obstruction on the line between Watford and Bushey. Almost immediately a northbound service headed by Class 86/0 No. 86 209 collides with the Class 83 forcing it and its first vehicle 50ft down an embankment, and leaving the rest of its train derailed. Both cabs of the Class 86 are severely damaged and the locomotive eventually has to be removed from the scene, some three months later, by road. One British Rail employee is killed.

Dipped rail joint tests are carried out during the month between Reading and Didcot on the Western Region by Class 55 Deltic locomotives. Noted were 55 007 Pinza  & 55 001 St. Paddy.

On the 29th of the month, Class 52 Western locomotive No. 1023 Western Fusilier  and two coaches of its train derail at Oxford. Cause of the accident is found to be a complete failure of the locomotives leading axle.

February -
The worst accident on the London Underground system happens on the 28th of the month when the 08:37 Drayton Park - Moorgate fails to stop at the Moorgate terminus and rams into the blind end of the refuge tunnel. There are 43 fatalities. More here and the official accident report can be found here.

March - 
Last of the Class 35 Hymeks are withdrawn from service - 7011, 7017, 7018 & 7022.

It is announced that Class 47/0 No. 47 046 is to be rebuilt with a Ruston Paxman 2500hp engine. The Class 47 will emerge as 47 601.

The final Class 87 locomotive, 87 101, enters service and is delivered to the research centre at Derby. It is August 1976 before it is released for regular service. Photo.

The first fare-paying passengers are carried on the West Somerset Railway.

May -
Production of passenger coaches at BREL Derby Litchurch Lane completes the build transition from MkII to MkIII vehicles.

The prototype Class 252 High Speed Train enters normal passenger service hauling the 07.45 Bristol Parkway to Paddington and the 10.15 Paddington to Weston-super-Mare.

June -
On the 5th of the month, the 23.30 Euston-Glasgow overnight sleeping car train headed by Class 86 locomotives 86 006 and a failed 86242 leaves the rails at Nuneaton after the driver fails to see a speed restriction. 86 242 comes to a rest on one of the station platforms wedged beneath the awnings. Four passengers and two sleeping car attendants are killed. 

July -
The Diesel & Electric Group announce they have secured Class 35 Hymek No. 7017 for preservation.

August -
On the 31st of the month the Rail 150 Exhibition and Steam Cavalcade takes place at Shildon in connection with the 150th anniversary of the Stockton to Darlington Railway.

September -
On the 27th of the month, the National Railway Museum opens at York.

October - 
Brush Class 53 prototype No.1200 Falcon  withdrawn from service.

Seven withdrawn Class 52 Western locomotives, 1011/25/6/34/52/9 & 69, await removal from Laira depot to Swindon for final cutting up.

November -
Class 23 Baby Deltic No. D5901 is withdrawn from departmental service. The locomotive is finally reduced to scrap at BREL Doncaster works fifteen months later.

Class 24 No. 24 061 enters departmental service with the BR research centre at Derby and is renumbered firstly RDB968007 and then 97201. More here and here. The locomotive eventually reaches the preservationists. More.

The prototype Class 252 High Speed Train begins passenger evaluation trials between Paddington and Swansea in addition to a regular run between Paddington and Bristol.

 


1976

January - 
Apart from the withdrawal of D322, the first of the Class 40 locomotives are withdrawn (40 039/43/102/90).

Class 87 locomotive No. 87 001 named Stephenson  to mark the 150th anniversary of the Stockton & Darlington Railway. The nameplates were removed in July 1977 and re-applied to 87 101 in October of the same year. Photo.

Class 52 locomotive No. 1055 Western Advocate  running light engine, ploughs into the back of a parcels train at Worcester Tunnel Junction. Two railway staff are killed and the locomotive is subsequently withdrawn.

The use of train reporting numbers or locomotive 'headcodes' comes to an end.

February - 
First of the Class 253 production high speed train power cars introduced - 43002/3

March -
Withdrawn brush prototype Class 53 No. 1200 Falcon  makes its last journey from Ebbw Junction shed to Cashmores scrapyard at Newport for final breaking.

Class 45 locomotive No. 45 071 becomes the first of its class to be modified by the removal of its nose-end headcode panels. The new front ends feature two headlights.

July - 
First of the Class 44 Peaks withdrawn - 44 003 Skiddaw.

The pioneer Class 31 locomotive D5500, now 31 018 is withdrawn from service along with five of the other Class 31/0's. D5500 is secured for preservation at the National Railway Museum, York. Photo.

Two Class 50 locomotives Nos. 50 023 & 50 037 are employed as banking engines old the Lickey Incline.

British Rail ceases to transport homing pigeons on its services.

August -
Class 24 locomotive No. 24 054 is taken into departmental service as a train pre-heating unit on the Western Region. It is renumbered TDB968008. Photo.

On the 4th of the month, the first two Class 56 locomotives, 56 001 & 2 arrive in the UK from the manufacturers Electroputere in Rumania.

September -
The first of the new Class 56 locomotives, 56 001, is noted 'on trial'  at Normanton. Photo.

Fifteen condemned Class 24 locomotives are now abandoned in sidings at Carlisle.

Birmingham International station is formerly opened by the then BR Chairman, Peter Parker.

October -
The Class 253 High Speed Trains begin regular revenue earning services on the Western Region.

All of the remaining SR Class 71 locomotives are placed into store.

Class 52 Western No. 1023 Western Fusilier  is given a full repaint at Laira depot.

November -
One of the final Class 52 Western enthusiast tours, 'Western Talisman', headed by 1023 Western Fusilier, becomes the first diesel-hydraulic passenger working on the Eastern Region. The charter runs from Kings Cross to York and return.

Class 40 locomotives Nos. 40 106 & 40 136 are reported to be the last of their class running in brunswick green livery.

Deliveries of the Rumanian built Class 56 locomotives reach 56 011, but none are yet in service due to axle defects found on the machines.

The Scottish Regions last remaining Class 24 locomotive is 24 115. 

Condemned locomotives at Swindon works include 18 Class 52 Western locomotives, 9 Class 24, and a Class 25.

December -
Class 44 locomotive No. 44 006 Whernside  derails after running into buffer stops at Spalding. The accident leads to the locomotives withdrawal a month later.

 


1977

January -
Approval is given for the electrification of the lines between St. Pancras and Bedford.

February - 
First of the Rumanian built Class 56 locomotives introduced - 56 001.

Last of the Class 52 Western locomotives withdrawn from service - 1010 Western Campaigner, 1013 Western Ranger, 1023 Western Fusilier, 1041 Western Prince  & 1048 Western Lady.

May -  
First of the BREL Doncaster built Class 56 locomotives introduced - 56 031. Photo.

Class 31/0 locomotive No. 31 014 is converted for use as a train pre-heating unit and renumbered ADB968015.

July -
Scottish Region Class 27 locomotives Nos. 27 028 & 27 040 move south to Crewe diesel depot for tyre turning. The reason for the unusual move is that BREL St. Rollox Works, Glasgow is on its annual shutdown!

With the recently introduced plan of naming all the Class 50 and 87 locomotives (More), the Stephenson  nameplates are removed from 87 001 and the locomotive becomes Royal Scot.  With the fitting of these 'new' nameplates, emphasis is placed on would-be thieves from removing them. As well as bolting the plates to the inside corridor of the locomotives, secondary security is made by bolting, yet again, to the transformer tunnel.

September -
Class 28 Metrovick Co-Bo No.TDB968005 (D5705, 15705) is withdrawn from departmental service. In its latter years the locomotive served as a train pre-heating unit. The locomotive is now preserved. More.

Pioneer Class 31 locomotive No. D5500 is painted in its original brunswick green livery at BREL Doncaster works after which it returns to its home, The National Railway Museum.

November
Class 56 locomotive No. 56 020 becomes the first of its class recorded on WR metals when it hauls a train of coal hoppers into Didcot power station.

With Class 253 High Speed Train formations rapidly becoming interchanged, the use of set numbers painted on the front ends of the units is swiftly coming to an end.

'Woodhead' Class 76 locomotive No. 76 020 is side-lined at Doncaster Works awaiting restoration for the National Railway Museum.

December
Preserved Class 52 Western locomotive No. D1023 Western Fusilier  begins its journey from the Western Region to its new home at the National Railway Museum, when it leaves Swindon Works, initially bound for Toton depot hauled by 37 281. Photo.

 


1978

January -
Class 50 No. 50 035 becomes the first of its class to be named (Ark Royal ) under the new policy to apply plates to all of the Class 50 and Class 87 locomotives. More. Photos here & here.

March -
With over a year having passed since the final demise of the Class 52 Western locomotives, fourteen examples are still dumped at Swindon Works awaiting scrapping. Those identifiable are 1009/12/21/2/5/8/33/4/56/8/70/1.

April -
Class 47 No. 47 460 appears adorned with the unofficial nameplates Great Eastern. Photo.

May -
On the 5th of the month, the last two East Coast Pullman Car services, the 'Yorkshire Pullman' and the 'Hull Pullman' from Kings Cross to Harrogate and Hull respectively, make their final journeys.

One of the very first variants of the rail blue livery arrives with the painting of  white waistband stripes along the bodysides of 31 411. Similar adornments appear on 31 304 later in the month.

June -
One of the last remaining Class 24 locomotives, 24 082 finds itself at Euston after powering a Llandudno-Crewe relief train which was extended to the capital.

July -
A fire occurs on the 21.30 Penzance to Paddington night train at Taunton leaving 12 passengers dead and 15 injured. A major cause of the high fatalities is the fact that the majority of the sleeping car doors are locked. More.

August -
Two replica nameplates and a numberplate are stolen from Class 52 Western locomotive D1048 Western Lady  whilst the locomotive undergoes restoration at Swindon Works.

September -
The very last semaphore signal working on the ECML at Potteric Carr, south of Doncaster, is dismantled.

Class 45/1 locomotive No. 45 130 is noted carrying an unofficial nameplate bearing the name Newmarketeer. The plate, in class 45 style, is on one side of the locomotive only. Class 45 Unofficial Names

On the 22nd of the month, Class 25 No. 25 171 runs away through Arbroath station with a ten vehicle ballast train and finally comes to a halt after ploughing into a cutting retaining wall at the end of a siding. Both cabs are crushed beyond recognition; the driver escapes by retreating to the engine compartment and the secondman and guard jump clear. The mishap leads to the locomotives withdrawal.

October -
Class 17 Clayton locomotives Nos. 8521 & 8598 are withdrawn from departmental service with the BR research department at Derby and move to BREL Glasgow Works. Both end their days at the plant, 8598 in March 1979 and 8521 a month later.

On the 9th of the month, the new station opens at Bedford Midland.

ECML High Speed Train services are extended to Aberdeen.

Celebrity Class 40 locomotive No. 40 106 emerges from Crewe works with a fresh coat of green paint. The locomotive now supports a grey roof, 'lion and wheel' emblems and its number beneath all four cabside windows.

Two Class 87 locomotives, 87 029 Earl Marischal,  87 030 Black Douglas  and an unidentified Class 86, become the first machines to be painted with a thin orange stripe at cantrail level, for the purpose of warning staff of overhead live wires whilst working on the upper parts of locomotives.

Class 52 Western locomotive No. D1048 Western Lady  moves north, after restoration work at Swindon Works, to its new home on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. The locomotive carries a fresh coat of rail blue livery. More.

 


1979

January -
The first of the newly converted Class 47/7 locomotives is released from Crewe works for push/pull operation on the Edinburgh - Glasgow service- 47 701 Saint Andrew.  On the 26th of the month it runs on test from Crewe to Church Stretton and back.

February -
Train heating unit ADB968000, formerly Class 15 locomotive No. D8243 arrives at Stratford depot after being repainted in apple green livery at Colchester.

Train heating unit TDB968006, former Class 28 Co-Bo locomotive No. D5705 is reported to be still languishing at the rear of Bristol Bath Road depot.

March -
After the naming of Class 86/2 locomotive No. 86 241 Glenfiddich, it is announced that nine more locomotives of the same class are to be named after Scottish glens. Photo.

East coast line services are in chaos as a rock fall inside the Penmanshiel tunnel completely blocks the line. Strenuous efforts are made to remove the blockage but the work proves too hazardous resulting in he closure of the tunnel completely. A 1000m deviation line has to be built around the old tunnel involving the removal of 250,000 cubic metres of spoil. Amazingly the new chord is opened only five months later, in August of this year.

Class 47 No. 47 500 is named Great Western  in celebration of the 125th anniversary of the opening of Paddington station. Photo.

Class 71 locomotive No. 71 001 departs Doncaster works for display at the National Railway Museum. The locomotive is now in its former SR green livery with its original number - E5001.

Class 47/6 locomotive No. 47 601 is at Crewe works for conversion to Class 47/9 locomotive No. 47 901.

Class 31/0 locomotive No. 31 013 is converted for use as a train pre-heating unit and renumbered ADB968013

April -
Stage one of the London Undergrounds Jubilee Line is officially opened by the Prince of Wales on the 30th of the month.

May -  
Class 56 No. 56 036 becomes the first diesel locomotive to be painted in 'large logo' livery. More.

June -
Ex-Class 42 Warship No. 832 Onslaught  moves from departmental service to preservation. The locomotive is transferred from sidings at Eggington Junction, south of Derby, to Derby diesel depot. 832 is later displayed at the Derby Locomotive Works open day on September 1st of this year. Further details on this locomotive can be found here.

A new world record is set for a start to stop average speed with a scheduled passenger train when a Class 253 High Speed Train completes the 94 mile trip between Paddington and Chippenham in 50m 32s; an average speed of 111.6mph.

Class 86 locomotive No. 86 235 is named Novelty  to mark the start of the sale of tickets for the Liverpool & Manchester Railway 150th anniversary celebrations. The locomotive also carries two large panels on which the official 'Rocket 150' logo is displayed. More.

July -
For the first time, Class 56 locomotives appear in South Wales, initially for crew training.

August -
56 050 becomes the first of its class to appear on the Southern Region.

Scrap ex-SR electric locomotives Nos. 71 004/9/11/3/4 and 74 010 still reside at BREL Doncaster. The Class 71's were withdrawn in November 1977, whilst 74 010 after withdrawal, made an aborted move to Derby for possible research work. More

Class 50 locomotive No. 50 011 is the only member of its class without nameplates fitted. The locomotive also still retains its English Electric "On hire" plates. It finally receives its Centurian  name in September.

Five Class 55 Deltics are now running with white cab window frames - 55003/7/9/15/8.

September -
A Western Region Class 253 High Speed Train completes the 305 mile journey between Penzance and Paddington in a record 4 hr 44 mins. The run includes six intermediate stops in Cornwall and two further stops at Plymouth and Exeter.

October -
Class 40 locomotive No. 40 164 appears carrying the unofficial nameplates Lismore.

'New' services between Edinburgh and Glasgow using Class 47/7 locomotives and MkIII stock are introduced.

November -
First appearance of the prototype Advanced Passenger Train at Euston station.

It is announced that the National Railway Museum has selected Class 55 Deltic No. 55 002 The Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry  for eventual preservation in the National Collection.

 


1980

January - 
55 001 St. Paddy  & 55 020 Nimbus  become the first two Deltics to be withdrawn. Photo.

March -
Mobile load bank vehicle ADB968021, formerly Class 84 locomotive No. 84 009, is noted at Cricklewood.

April - 
It is reported that Deltic 55 020 Nimbus  has now almost been completely cut up at Doncaster works with 55 001 St. Paddy next in line.

Class 33 locomotive No. 33 008 becomes the first Southern region locomotive to be named after the demise of steam traction when it becomes Eastleigh  on the 11th of the month.

May -
The Liverpool & Manchester Railways 'Rocket 150' celebrations are held at Rainhill to mark the 150th anniversary of the former railway company.

Western Region Class 253 High Speed Trains start a full West of England service between Paddington and Penzance.

June -
After being secured for preservation, Class 28 Metrovick locomotive No. D5705, latterly in use as train pre-heating unit TDB968006, is moved from Bristol Bath Road depot to Swindon works.

The notorious 'Woodhams Diesels', D601 Ark Royal  & Class 29 NBL No. D6122 are finally reduced to scrap at the South Wales scrapyard. More.

Class 13 'Master & Slave' locomotive No. 13 003 makes its way south to Swindon works for attention. It becomes the last of its class to receive an overhaul at the works.

July -
Class 31/0 locomotive No. 31 002 is converted for use as a train pre-heating unit and renumbered ADB968014.

A reconditioned engine is fitted into Class 44 locomotive No 44 008 Penyghent  at Derby Locomotive Works. On the 10th of the month the locomotive is 'on test' with the 12.07 Derby-St.Pancras service paired with Class 45 No. 45 121. A photo of the machine whilst at Derby Locomotive Works can be found here.

Former Class 24 machine No. 97201 (24 061), now in departmental service, receives a 'new' research department livery of rail blue with wide red bands along its bodysides. Also attached is the name Experiment.  Photo.

Longsight based Class 08 locomotives appear with unofficial names. Included are 08 399 Great Central,  08 604 Ardwick,  08 611 Dewsnap,  08 686 Edgeley,  08 687 Ashburys,  08 688 M.I.F.T. (Manchester International Freight Terminal), 08 891 Mayfield,  08 906 Piccadilly,  08 914 Trafford Park  & 08 915 Longsight.

August -
A local Swindon newspaper reports that up to 150 diesel locomotives may be withdrawn over the next eighteen months and moved to Swindon Works as an economy measure.

October -
Last of the Class 24 locomotives is withdrawn from service - 24 081. More.

Class 40 locomotive No. 40 106 is given a fresh coat of green paint at Chester depot. The locomotive also now carries a silver roof and red bufferbeams.

After extensive testing and evaluation, the Advanced Passenger Trains debut in regular passenger service is postponed indefinitely. 

November -
The remaining three Class 44 locomotives are withdrawn from service - 44 004 Great Gable, 44 007 Ingleborough & 44 008 Penyghent.

Class 46 locomotives Nos. 46 027/8 are returned to service after a long period out of use at the Swindon 'dump'.

December -
The first main line diesel locomotive to be delivered under the modernisation programme, Class 20 No. 20 050 (D8000), is withdrawn from service and preserved at the National Railway Museum. Photos here & here.

Class 55 Deltic No. 55 002 The Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry  is released to traffic after a final overhaul and a repaint into its original two-tone green livery. The locomotive is to be preserved at the National Railway Museum upon withdrawal, and at a ceremony at the museum plaques are unveiled fitted above each nameplate which read This locomotive, to be preserved as part of the National Collection, has been repainted in its original colours, with a grant by the Friends of the National Railway Museum. Photos.

 


1981

January -
British Rails "young supporters" club is launched - 'Rail Riders'.

For the first time, the 25kv electrical equipment is energised between Luton Hoo and Bedford in preparation for a full St.Pancras-Bedford electric service in 1982.

February -
Class 31/0 locomotive No. 31 008 is converted for use as a train pre-heating unit and renumbered ADB968016.

April -
Class 50 locomotive No. 50 015 Valiant  derails on pointwork at Waterloo station whilst on an ecs working.

June - 
56 038 becomes the first member of its class to be named - Western Mail. 

Travellers-Fare, BR's catering arm, announces price rises. Amongst others, a burger will rise in price from 0.55 - 0.56 and a full breakfast rises to 5.50.

It is reported that twenty Class 50 locomotives are to be transferred from the WR to the ER to replace the loss of the Deltics.

Newly preserved Class 44 locomotive No. 44 008 Penyghent  moves to its new home at the Strathspey Railway, Aviemore. The locomotive is to be renamed Schichallion  in keeping with the railways policy of naming its motive power after Scottish mountains.

Class 33 locomotives take over Cardiff-Crewe services. Photo.

July -
With the closure of the Woodhead route on the 18th of the month, the remaining 1500v dc Class 76 locomotives are withdrawn from service 'en-masse' - 76 003/6-16/8/21-30/2-7/40/4/8/50/1/4.

August -
It is announced that BREL Ashford works is to close with the loss of 950 jobs.

Class 24 locomotive No. 24 081 is acquired for preservation. More.

Class 44 locomotive No. 44 004 Great Gable  is acquired for preservation. More.

 


1982

January -
The last of the Class 55 Deltics are withdrawn from service - 55 002 The Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, 55 009 Alycidon, 55 015 Tulyar  & 55 022 Royal Scots Grey.

April -
On the 25th of the month Laira depot holds its annual open day. Visitors include Class 47 locomotives Nos. 47 560 & 47 559 which are named Tamar & Sir Joshua Reynolds  at the event, Class 33, No. 33 027 Earl Mountbatten Of Burma, Class 73, 73 142 Broadlands, BRE-Leyland railbus R3, and Class 52 'Western' D1023 Western Fusilier.

May -
The InterCity 125 High Speed Train sets take over the Swansea - Newcastle route.

The Midland Railway Centre extends its line from Swanwick Junction to Ironville.

June -
With Class 50 No. 50 029 Renown  being released from works in 'large logo' livery, exactly half the class support the new colour scheme.

British Rails catering arm, Travellers-Fare raises its prices for tea and coffee to 19p & 30p respectively.

October -
Train pre-heating unit TDB968008, formerly Class 24 No. 24 054 is withdrawn from departmental service. The locomotive is secured by preservationists. More.

November -
Class 35 Hymeks Nos. 7076 & 7096 withdrawn from departmental service as dead weight vehicles for the BR research department at Derby. Both located at the Old Dalby test track in Leicestershire, 7096 is cut up on site but 7076 is secured for preservation. More.

 


A full documented yearly history of the Class 24, 25, 44, 45, and 46 locomotives can be found on David Hills excellent website Derby Sulzers.

*

Many thanks go to Paul Appleby for allowing direct links to locomotive photographs on his website 
The Rail Photo Archive, also for the artwork at the head of this page.

*

Thanks also go to Russell Saxton for several renumbering and livery facts.

*
And thanks are also extended to 'The Archivist' for allowing links to his website The Railways Archive.

 

Other resources:-

http://www.preserved-diesels.co.uk/
http://www.d5705.org.uk/
http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/default.stm

 


 

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