Tag Archives: Class 50

Old and New

Sir Edward Elgar

Edward Elgar’s birthday a few days ago was an excuse to give 50007 a spin on the layout. The prototype was painted in Great Western green to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the GWE in 1985.The repaint and renaming was somewhat controversial in some quarters, earning the locomotive the nickname of “Snotvac”. It survives in perservation, although it’s currently running in its earlier guise of “Hercules”.

The model is one of the oldest on the layout, resprayed and detailed by Chris Marchant of CJM something like 25 years ago. This one’s still running on the original Farish 5-pole chassis; one of the early ones with nylon gears that therefore still runs. The coaches are very much newer; a rake of the the recently-introduced Farish Mk2as.

Farish 31 No 5826

In contrast, the newest addiion to the fleet is one of Graham Farish’s newly retooled 31s. No 5826 was one of a handful of locomotives outshopped in the late sixties in an unusual interim livery, still wearing the original green but with full yellow ends and BR double arrow logos normally applied to locomotives repainted into BR blue.

5826 was one of the locomotives transferred to the Western Region at the beginning of the 1970s to replace the WR’s non-standard diesel-hydraulic fleet. It was running in this livery in 1973, representing an earlier era to the 1980s class 50, but ideal to run alongside the hydraulics.  Here it’s pulling a very mixed parcels train, typical of the sort of duties these medium-power locomotives found themselves working during the 70s.

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You call this music?


Big Big Train recorded an album called “English Electric”. But here is some actual English Electric 16SCVT music from around 1990 on the West of England line. It’s a sobering thought that these locomotives have been gone for more than 20 years, and some of the surviving preserved examples have now been museum pieces for longer than they were in traffic with British Rail.

Your definition of music may vary, but for me this qualifies, especially from about a minute in.

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Thunderer at York

Preseved Class 50 locoomotive 50008 Preseved class 50 locomotive No 50008 “Thunderer” standing in the December sunshine outside the National Railway Museum in York. It wears the “Laira Blue” livery from the locomotive’s final months in main line service, where it was used as a dedicated railtour locomotive after the class were withdrawn from regular service. It’s a sobering thought that this locomotive has now been a museum piece for almost as long as it was in traffic now.

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Loadhaul Hoovers and Suchlike.

In between two Panic Room gigs I spent a very enjoyable time on the Severn Valley railway.

50035 "Ark Royal" in Loadhaul livery at Highley

50035 “Ark Royal” leaving Highley on the Severn Valley Railway. I’m not totally convinced that the orange and back Loadhaul livery really suits the class 50, especially when pulling a rake of GWR coaches. Best to invoke the “It’s my train set” rule, I think.

7812 "Earlstoke Manor" approaches Highley

I suppose much the same goes for a GWR “Manor” with a full rake of LNER varnished teak coaches. One thing I like about the Severn Valley Railway is the way they take coach restoration seriously.

Beer by the Severn

And the other great thing about the SVR is that there’s a good real ale pub by every station! No better way of chilling out than sitting by the river Severn with beer.

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