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The British Rail Class 52 was a class of 74 Type 4 diesel-hydraulic locomotives built for the Western Region of British Railways between and All were given two-word names, the first word being " Western " and thus the type became known as Westerns.
When switching to diesel traction as part of the Modernisation Plan of the s, British Railways BR designed, and commissioned designs for, a large number of locomotive types. At this time BR's regions had a high degree of autonomy, which extended as far as classes of locomotives ordered and Winnstep - The Winnstep the design criteria for those locomotives.
Whilst almost all other diesel locomotives were diesel-electric, the Western Region employed a policy of using diesel-hydraulic traction, originally commissioning three classes of main line locomotives: a type 2 and two type 4s later designations class 22class 41 and class With pressure to increase the speed of the transition from steam to diesel, volume orders for the class 22 and class 42 along with a similar design class 43 followed ina mere two years after the original orders and well before any idea of performance or reliability could be gained.
At the same time it was realised that all the existing orders diesel-electric and diesel-hydraulic were for types 1, 2 and 4; thus orders were placed for Type 3 diesel-hydraulics later Class The theoretical advantage of diesel-hydraulic was simple: it resulted in a lighter locomotive than equivalent diesel-electric transmission. Unfortunately, it had several key disadvantages:. Experience showed that the Bristol-Siddeley - Maybach engines were superior to those made by North British Locomotive Company - MAN and although the use of twin engines in the same locomotive was new, the design did not Heart Of Gold - Engelbert* - Im Gonna Dream Our Dreams For You any insurmountable problems.
In the end the diesel-hydraulic experiment foundered on low fleet numbers, poor maintenance conditions and design issues; not on its German heritage or development of a novel configuration. BR's Swindon Works maintained all the diesel-hydraulic locomotives, and their early demise resulted in a much reduced workload and hastened its eventual closure in With the Hymeks and Warships already in service but proving underpowered for top-link services, BR Western Region needed a high-powered locomotive for these trains — the Western therefore needed two diesel engines to achieve the required power output.
In keeping with their policy, a new locomotive with a hydraulic transmission was envisaged. Experience had shown that the Maybach engines in the Hymeks were superior to the earlier Maybach and MAN engines used in the Warships, particularly in power output. Prototypes sited the engines behind the driving cabs but drivers found this too noisy; moving the engines centrally meant making the locomotive heavier, removing some of the design's advantage.
In production use, the dual-engine arrangement turned out to have some 1049 Again - No Artist - Westerns - Diesel Hydraulics On The Western Region in 1974 in particular, the Westerns were able to continue operating with a single engine running in situations where more conventional single-engine designs would require rescue by another locomotive. The most serious continual problem with the class was the design fault mismatch between the Maybach MD engines and the Voith LrV three speed hydraulic transmissions.
These factors, combined with the South Devon Banks a major part of their running grounds deleterious effect on tired engines, all conspired against the Westerns continuing in top-line service.
With fifty Class 50 locomotives becoming available, following completion of the West Coast Main Line electrification, and new High Speed Trains, the speed and comfort increases the Western Region sought could be achieved and the Westerns dispensed with.
Towards the end of their careers the Westerns were all allocated to Laira Plymouth. Whilst the design was largely successful, the working life of the class was relatively short. Its non-standard design added to its maintenance costs while the national British Rail policy was moving away from diesel-hydraulics.
When the Westerns were introduced inthe Western Region had diesel-hydraulics Tough Like Mahogany - Various - C-4 10 diesel-electrics excluding shunters ; by the numbers were and respectively.
As a result, the early s saw the decision taken to retire all the diesel-hydraulic types. Class 46 and Class 47 took over passenger and heavy freight while Class 25 covered the lighter duties. Following completion of the electrification of the West Coast Main Line throughout from London to Glasgowthe Class 50s were reallocated to the Western Region; the introduction of High Speed Trains three years later was the final nail in the 1049 Again - No Artist - Westerns - Diesel Hydraulics On The Western Region in 1974 for the Class 52 Westerns.
In —69 the Westerns received train air brake equipment in addition to their vacuum exhausters, thus significantly extending their working lives, unlike the similar but lower-powered, Warship classalthough four of the class D—D did not receive dual brakes, with these locomotives being among the first withdrawals.
The vacuum brake equipment was retained and to fit the additional equipment, it was necessary to remove one of the fuel tanks. The Western Region faced particularly stiff competition for its prime inter-city services in Antanas Šabaniauskas - 20 Rinktinių Dainų mid to late s from the M4 motorway and it was generally felt within BR that a significant speed and comfort increase on the prime London Paddington - Bristol route were necessary.
The highest recorded speed with a Western that O. However, when it came to drawbar horsepower the Westerns in some respects were less capable than the equivalent diesel electric locomotives. Nock states "whilst the Westerns took their rightful place as fast and powerful locomotives it became evident that they were showing the same deficiency in actual power put forth at the drawbar as the [diesel-hydraulic] Warships had done.
They deliberately chose data to show each class in their best light and included a Western run which produced edhp but they still concluded that "without doubt the Westerns get the wooden spoon; certainly not what one would expect from units of bhp". Despite this apparent limitation, the BR Western Region load-limit book gave the same ton loading figure for both the Class 52 and Class 47 diesels over the South Devon banks between Newton Abbot and Plymouth.
The reason for this is that, while the diesel-electric classes could produce high maximum tractive effort for limited periods, diesel hydraulics could produce significantly higher continuous tractive effort. While the first Western was under construction, proposals for livery and names were prepared by the BR design panel. The D series locomotives were to be named after famous West of England place names; the illustration from the portfolio shows D bearing the name Cheddar Gorge.
This trend was not followed in production, however, and the Westerns were named with general heraldic and regimental terms prefixed with the word "Western" as per the following table. D was originally named Western Legionaire [ sic ], but renamed Western Legionnaire inthe nameplate being cut to allow the additional letter to be inserted.
As withdrawal was already planned when the scheme was introduced and because of the cast number 1049 Again - No Artist - Westerns - Diesel Hydraulics On The Western Region in 1974it was not considered cost effective to renumber the locomotives. On many Westerns, the headcode was set to display the locomotive's number in contravention of this directive and most surviving members of the class ran like this until they were scrapped.
If used for routeing, such reporting numbers would be interpreted as a passenger express terminating on the Southern Region. When the initial batch of Westerns was being built in —2, British Rail was considering a new unified corporate colour scheme but had not yet made a final decision on what it would be.
As a result, some of 1049 Again - No Artist - Westerns - Diesel Hydraulics On The Western Region in 1974 early locomotives were painted in experimental liveries: D was rolled out of Swindon Works in November painted in a light brown livery which became known as Desert Sand.
This was in turn replaced by the final design of cast nameplate and numberplate; metal with a black background. This livery was later altered by the addition of a small yellow warning panel at each end and a black roof. The second locomotive, D was delivered in an all-over maroon livery with yellow buffer beams and further locomotives DD in all-over green with small yellow warning panels.
Exceptions were the first four locomotives built at Crewe, D—D, which were delivered in green livery with red backgrounds to the nameplates, and D, which was outshopped from Swindon in an experimental "golden ochre" livery with small yellow warning panels at each end.
The locomotive is not believed to have run in this condition, but was released to traffic in the golden ochre livery with standard small yellow panels. After the adoption of Rail Blue with full yellow ends in D was the first of the class painted in this livery infor some unexplained reason a small batch of locomotives D, D, D, D, D, D and D received this variant married to small yellow warning panels; D carried red buffer beams for a short while.
All other repaints were with full yellow ends which extended from the body line above the buffer beam up to the base of the window frames, along the sill of the cab-side windows onto the vertical end reveal. The valance above the cab windows on the front was also painted yellow, leaving the window frames in their base aluminium.
The drive to repaint the locomotives in Rail Blue was outstripped by the safety directive dictating full yellow 1049 Again - No Artist - Westerns - Diesel Hydraulics On The Western Region in 1974 for all powered vehicles and some locomotives ran for a time with their original maroon bodies and full yellow ends.
Some early photographs of the blue livery give it a more metallic shade which is even more evident on the locomotives with small yellow panels. This however is possibly a photographic anomaly with colour film or due to printing techniques.
It is commonly accepted amongst Western enthusiasts in recent years that none of the class or any other British Rail locomotive of the period were ever painted with a metallic Track 28 - Backseat Girls - The Black Album. However, several publications refer to initial painting in blue as being "chromatic blue" and published images do show a metallic sheen and lighter shade of blue than the standard Rail Blue.
Seven locomotives have survived into preservation at heritage railways. D has been passed to operate on the mainline since From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. It has been suggested that List of British Rail Class 52 locomotives be merged into this article. Discuss Proposed since August Swindon Works 30 Crewe Works Main article: List of British Rail Class 52 locomotives.
Hydraulic vs Electric; The battle for the BR diesel fleet. Hersham, Surrey: Ian Allan. Shepperton: Ian Allan Publishing. February BR Diary — Ian Allan Publishing. May Slater, J. The Railway Magazine. British Locomotives of the 20th Century: Volume 3 the present day. The Marlow Donkey : 8— British Rail Headcodes 5th ed. Shepperton: Ian Allan. Western Diesels in Camera. The Power of the Westerns. Oxford: OPC. Plate Railways Archive. Retrieved 30 January Railway Thats Where The Happy People Go - Various - Golden Superstars Western Region.
Report on the Collision that occurred Retrieved 16 September Retrieved 7 September British railway locomotives and miscellany, to present. Lists: Diesel locomotives Electric locomotives Miscellaneous locomotives Diesel multiple units Electric multiple units Departmental multiple units Steam Locomotives. Hidden categories: Articles to be merged from August All articles to be merged EngvarB from April Use dmy dates from April All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from May Articles with unsourced statements from April Articles with unsourced statements from November Articles with unsourced statements from July Commons category link is on Wikidata Pages with citations lacking titles Articles prone to spam from September Namespaces Article Talk.
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