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BR Swindon Type 1 0-6-0 Diesel-Hydraulic Locomotives - Class 14 (Hardback)

Their Life on British Railways

Transport Photographic Books Colour Books Trains and Railways

By Anthony Sayer
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Series: Locomotive Portfolios Diesel and Electric
Pages: 216
Illustrations: 280 colour & black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526792372
Published: 2nd March 2022


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In 1957 the Western Region of BR identified a need for 400 Type 1 diesel locomotives for short-haul freight duties but it was 1964 before the first was introduced. General-purpose Type 1s were being delivered elsewhere but WR management regarded these as too expensive for their requirements. After completion of design work on the ‘Western’ locomotives, Swindon turned to creating a cheap ‘no-frills’ Type 1. At 65% of the cost of the Bo-Bo alternative, the Swindon 0-6-0 represented a better ‘fit’ for the trip-freight niche. Since 1957 the privatised road-haulage industry had decimated BR’s wagon-load sector; whilst the 1962 Transport Act released BR from its financially-debilitating public-service obligations, the damage had been done, and the 1963 Beeching Plan focused on closing unprofitable routes and associated services. By 1963 the original requirement for 400 Type 1s had been massively reduced. Fifty-six locomotives were constructed in 1964/65. Continuing traffic losses resulted in the whole class becoming redundant by 1969. Fortuitously, a demand for high-powered diesels on the larger industrial railway systems saw the bulk of the locomotives finding useful employment for a further twenty years. This book covers the life of these locomotives on British Railways; a companion volume will provide an extensive appraisal of "Their Life in Industry" for the forty-eight locomotives which made the successful transition after withdrawal from BR

This is the latest of the author’s five books about
the less-successful BR Type 1 and 2 diesels. This
particular volume is of more than usual interest
in view of Class 14’s long standing and continuing
presence on the Kent & East Sussex Railway.
As Mr Sayer explains in his preface, this work is
about the locomotives’ remarkably short career
with British Rail – he intends to produce a
further book about their later and much longer
employment in industry. The preservation phase
he says he leaves to the heritage-era owners.
The book’s 20 chapters include BR’s dieselisation
strategy, the decision to build the class, the
design stage, individual locomotive histories,
service and performance problems, withdrawal
and disposal. As a prequel to the forthcoming
second volume there is an ‘Industrial Taster’
appendix of colour photos featuring Class 14
in industrial use.
There is much interesting information about the
design’s defects and mechanical problems, which
have continued down to the present day and will
be familiar to anyone (including your reviewer)
who has ever been involved with the operation
and management of Class 14. Such issues of
course contributed to BR’s decision on early
withdrawal but so did the disappearance of the
pick-up goods work for which the locos were
intended. The author nonetheless neatly proves
that the decision to build the type was in no way
negligent, ‘approval to construct’ having been
undermined by the subsequent abolition of BR’s
common carrier obligation, followed by the
appearance of the Beeching Report days after
the ‘approval to order’ was made.
BR Swindon Type 1; 0-6-0 Diesel-Hydraulic
Locomotives – Class 14 is a historical account in
the Don Bradley tradition of in-depth research
using primary archive sources. What it is not,
despite the comprehensive illustrations, is an
undemanding post-steam nostalgia album of the
type often associated with this kind of subject.

Nick Pallant, Tenterden Terrier, Summer 2022

If you are interested in diesel traction, hydraulics or are just curious about these locos then you won’t be disappointed. Once again an excellent well written and informative volume from Mr Sayer which is easy to highly recommend.

Diesel and Electric Modellers United, Spring 2022

Review as featured in

Railways Illustrated

Copiously illustrated there is information here about liveries, storage and withdrawal.

A sound book with much detail about a minor class.

Roger Backhouse - Welsh Railways Research Circle Newsletter, No.169 Spring 2022

This new title from Pen & Sword takes a detailed examination of this often forgotten Swindon-built diesel-hydraulic locomotive class. Indeed it is fair to say that this is the most comprehensive publication yet about them. The author’s research into these locomotives is to be commended as virtually every aspect of their development, use and final demise is covered with such details as to how and why they were built, their costings compared to other British Railways (BR) diesel locomotives, the electric or hydraulic transmission arguments, their technical aspects, their reliability, depot allocations, services worked, their storage and disposal and their deployment after withdrawal from BR. All of the class had a very short life span with BR, with D9554 holding the record, lasting a total of just 2 years and 6 months! A photograph of each member of the class from D9500 through to D9555 is included and in total the book contains 78 black & white and 53 colour illustrations, with many images never having been published before.

All in all this is an excellent publication and is a thoroughly recommended addition to the library of every railway enthusiast, especially those with an interest in BR Western Region’s diesel-hydraulics.

Doug Tompkins, Editor Merkur, The German Railway Society

As featured in

The Bookseller

Another great volume. This is definitely a good reference book for those interested in the output from the famous Swindon works. Highly recommended

James Simmonds

About Anthony Sayer

ANTHONY SAYER is a life-long railway enthusiast with an interest in the history of the early British diesel and electric locomotive classes. This is the author’s sixth book in the “Locomotive Portfolio” series, following on from the North British Type 2 (Classes 21 & 29), the Metropolitan-Vickers Type 2 (Class 28), the Clayton Type 1 (Class 17), the BTH/NBL Type 1 (Classes 15 & 16) and BR Swindon Type 1 (Class 14: Their Life on British Railways) books published between 2019 and 2021. Anthony lives in the north-east of England and has now retired after 37 years in the steel industry with responsibilities in both transport planning and supply-chain logistics.

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