The first Western Region diesel locos

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Harlesden

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It is a few years since I last had chance to read Adrian Vaughan's books about his life as a signalman at Challow. However, in his later books, he frequently makes the point about the diesel locos that originally replaced his beloved steam locos continually failing and having to be rescued by old withdrawn steam locos.
Which class of diesel locomotives originally replaced steam on Western Region?
 
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sprinterguy

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Diesel hydraulics in the form of Hymeks (Class 35), Warships (Classes 42 & 43) and Westerns (Class 52).
 
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There are many 'stories' of drivers removing some small part from a diesel locomotive in the early days of transition, in order that they could fail it and take the standby steam loco instead.

How true these are I dont know, but I think that although the diesel hydraulics were a much cleaner environment to work in, some of them (the class 43 Warships for example) were prone to emitting diesel fumes into driving cabs and made for even more of an uncomfortable experience than a steam locomotive.
 
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Yes the D600s were first, although the D800s were only a short time later.

Interestingly, the Jan 1959 Railway Observer had a report that the (then) current diesel orders included D600-D637, which would been an interesting twist if it had been true.
 

Rugd1022

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Yes the D600s were first, although the D800s were only a short time later.

Interestingly, the Jan 1959 Railway Observer had a report that the (then) current diesel orders included D600-D637, which would been an interesting twist if it had been true.

The proposed D605-D637 order was cancelled when Swindon were given the go ahead to build the 'production' D8xx Warships D803 - D832.

I've probably mentioned this in another thread somewhere, but one of the reasons why the Hydraulics failed in the early days was the way the crew training was carried out, with some of the Instructors being thrown in the deep end alongside the steam men they were trying to train up. Many in traffic failures were due to minor electrical and control problems which hadn't been factored in to the training from the start, so consequently all concerned had to learn the ropes as they went along. It's a bit of a myth that the hydraulic transmissions themselves were the major cause of failures at the time, most problems were down to poor materials used in outscourced parts, which were originally specified to be of much better quality. At one point the inadequate train heating boilers of three different types and problematic coolant groups kept almost a third of the entire Warship and Western fleet out of traffic, resulting in Hymeks being taken off their normal diagrams to cover the Bristol and South Wales services, and the last remaining Castles left lingering on the Worcester and Hereford jobs to cover for the Hymeks...;)

Mild and ever so slightly biased rant over!
 

Harlesden

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Thanks for the information, gentlemen. Much appreciated. Apparently all the Warships were cut up at Swindon in 1972 just 11-12 years after entering service. The German V-200 (on which the Warship was based) lasted 25-28 years and several still survive.
 

matt

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Thanks for the information, gentlemen. Much appreciated. Apparently all the Warships were cut up at Swindon in 1972 just 11-12 years after entering service. The German V-200 (on which the Warship was based) lasted 25-28 years and several still survive.

Some Warships still survive in preservation D821 for example at the Severn Valley

 

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Adrian Vaughan's books have to be read with the realisation that he writes with a backward perspective, and fails to recognise the benefits that PSBs brought for example. He always displays an anti-modernisation / improvement attitude. In older times he would have been classed as a Luddite.

He is also very one sided in his interpretation of events which suit him if not the true realities.

If he had his way the GW would still be running with clerestory stock and steam locomotives signalled under absolute block with oil lit signals, running on 60 foot jointed track.

There is a saying ..."A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows the public opinion".

There are a good many more readable books by excellent men such as Gerry Fiennes or RN Hardy for example, which are much more accurate and informative.
 

Harlesden

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Thanks for the tip, Old Timer.
Mr. Vaughan regularly makes the point that signalmen (of his acquaintance) kept their signal boxes gleaming and shining inside. I cannot imagine that all signalmen were so "houseproud".
 

Old Timer

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Thanks for the tip, Old Timer.
Mr. Vaughan regularly makes the point that signalmen (of his acquaintance) kept their signal boxes gleaming and shining inside. I cannot imagine that all signalmen were so "houseproud".
Oh dont be so sure.

I worked with some men who would not let traincrew or track staff enter the box, indeed many of them used to take the TRB to the door.

A number used to walk around with dusters on their feet, and even now I still find myself with paper towels on the desk out of habit of using a lever cloth.

I would say the greatesr number of boxes were like that until certainly the rot set in in the 80s
 

Rugd1022

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Thanks for the information, gentlemen. Much appreciated. Apparently all the Warships were cut up at Swindon in 1972 just 11-12 years after entering service. The German V-200 (on which the Warship was based) lasted 25-28 years and several still survive.

Almost..... 821 and 832 survive in preservation and 818 survived as an 'empty vessel' until it was cut up round the back of A Shop in 1985 ;)
 

trainfanatic

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Oh dont be so sure.

I worked with some men who would not let traincrew or track staff enter the box, indeed many of them used to take the TRB to the door.

A number used to walk around with dusters on their feet, and even now I still find myself with paper towels on the desk out of habit of using a lever cloth.

I would say the greatesr number of boxes were like that until certainly the rot set in in the 80s

I recall being awarded my very first box, just after turning 18 yrs old. This was Corporation Road box between East Usk Jn and Uskmouth. We only had 2 shifts, the box being locked out with main up and down signals being pulled off.

Between the 2 of us we had that box absolutely sparkling....after all there were only half a dozen or so coal trains every shift.

So cleaning and keeping everything smart was more a matter of killing time rather than being a 'Mrs Mop'!
 
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