The long-awaited Graham Farish class 25/2 is finally here. Graham Farish have had a class 25/3 in the catalogue for many years, but the model dating from the Poole years is getting very long in the tooth. Following on from the new model of the similar class 24 from a couple of years back, a new class 25 was the obvious follow-up. In contast to the older Farish 25. the new model represents the earlier body style with front-end communication doors and bodyside grilles.
Known by the spotters’ nickname of “Rats”, the prototypes were built in the early to mid 1960, and the class eventually numbered no fewer than 327, making them the second most numerous class of main-line diesel after the class 47. The majority were allocated to the Midland Region though the Western and Scottish regions also had a few. Despite their large numbers they were relatively short-lived; the reduced demand for lower-power locomotives saw them last ones withdrawn in 1987, with many of them seeing less than 20 years service.
The Farish model comes in three different bodyshell variants representing the locomotives at different stages in their lives. The one I’ve got has both the boiler vent and the nose end doors plated over, and represents the condition of the locomotives in their final years in service.
I intend to renumber it to one of those allocated t o Plymouth Laira in the mid 1970s. These locomotives were brought into the West Country at the beginning of the 1970s to replace the class 22 diesel-hydraulics on local freight and passenger work in Devon and Cornwall. They were a common sight on china clay workings and Cornish local freight up to 1980 when the more powerful class 37s replaced them.
So far I have identified 25048, 25052, 25223 and 25225 as candidates for the new number. The above photo shows 25223 at Plymouth in 1976, and comes from John Woolley’s excellent photostream.