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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Soho and Winson Green: gwrswg1560

Western Class D1006 'Western Stalwart' is seen approaching Soho and Winson Green station on an up express on 18th August 1962

Western Class D1006 'Western Stalwart' is seen approaching Soho and Winson Green station on an up express on 18th August 1962. Built at Swindon inJuly 1962, D1006 was first allocated to Laira shed in Plymouth which was the same shed it was withdrawn from in April 1975. At withdrawal D1006 has ran over 1,208,000 miles in service and was only withdrawn due to a lack of engines.

The 'Western' class diesel - hydraulic locomotives came into being due to the introduction of Krauss - Maffei's experimental ML3000 3,000 bhp locomotive. This German design used the same Maybach MD650 engines and Mekydro K184 transmissions as used in the Swindon built 'Warship' class, but uprated to 1,500 bhp. Although details of the ML3000 were sent to Swindon for consideration, the Western Region decided to design their own locomotive from the ground up. Based around Maybach MD655 engines of 1,380 bhp and Voith L360rV transmissions, the body used the stressed - skin method of construction so successfully employed in the D800s. Voith transmissions were specified as Mekydro units were required for the 'Hymek' class and this decision was also made to spread the workload among the various suppliers. All of the engines though would be built by Bristol Siddeley Engines from their plant at Ansty, while 103 transmissions would be supplied by the North British Locomotive company and Voith Engineering of Glasgow with another 60 sets produced in Germany.

The order for 74 locomotives was placed by the British Transport Commission in September 1959 just prior to the completion of the final design. Construction was to be split between Swindon, who were to build the first 35 'Westerns', and also Crewe who were to built the last 39. Various problems with the final design details meant that the first member of the class was not delivered Maybach MD655 engine until December 1961, and so to relieve pressure on Swindon, the decision was taken that the last 5 of the locomotives due to built there, would be constructed at Crewe instead. Therefore, Swindon built 'Western' numbers D1000 - 29, while Crewe built numbers D1035 - 73 and D1030 - 4 in that order.

Initially the class were to be named after West Country beauty spots and the suggestion was that number D1000 was to become 'Cheddar Gorge' before this proposal was dropped in favour of the 'Western' names. The class also became the subject of various livery experiments. The first 'Western', D1000 Western Enterprise, was outshopped in a unique desert sand livery with wheels, roofpanels, bogies and window frames in black. Buffer beams and front skirts were painted in carmine red. The second 'Western' locomotive, D1001 Western Pathfinder, was delivered in a maroon livery with window frames in white while the buffer beams and front skirts were in yellow. The next three locomotives, D1002 - 4, were painted in the traditional Brunswick Green but with small yellow panels applied around the headcodes. The first Crewe built 'Westerns', D1035 - 8, were similarly painted. There then followed a public competition to decide the most popular livery (yes, British Railways did ask the public for their opinion sometimes) and the winning colour that the public chose was maroon. Other examples of the class were given this livery together with the small yellow panel around the headcode. One exception to this was number D1015 Western Champion, which was outshopped in a livery described as Golden Ochre with the buffer beams painted in red.

Courtesy Great Western Organisation