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English Electric Class 50 Diesels (Hardback)

From the Western Region to Preservation

Colour Books Photographic Books Transport

By Peter J Green
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Pages: 176
Illustrations: 43 colour & 260 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399017824
Published: 16th February 2022


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Peter J Green first photographed Class 50 diesels in action in 1975, while they were still being transferred from the London Midland to the Western Region of British Rail. But it was in the early 1980s, when they were named and painted in Large Logo livery, that his interest in the class really took off. For Peter, they stood out from most other locomotives that were painted in the rather drab Rail Blue livery. The sound of the locomotives, particularly when running at speed, was also very impressive, producing shouts of '50!' from waiting photographers, even before the train was in sight. The class became a particular target for his railway photography and many of his trips were made with them in mind. They regularly worked trains around his home town of Worcester, so if he did not want to go too far, it was easy to find a satisfactory subject at which to point his camera. Before their withdrawal in the late 1980s and early 1990s, they were used on many railtours, which always provided good photographic opportunities. Today, with many of the class working on heritage railways, and a number of privately owned locomotives registered for main line use, there is still plenty to keep his cameras occupied. A selection of Peter’s best photos of the Class 50 diesels, taken over a period of forty-five years, appear in these pages.

This book covers all of the Class 50 locomotives across multiple locations and periods in their lifetime between transfer to the Western Region and into Preservation.

The photos are well reproduced and are a nice collection of different locations and most of them are black and white. There is a separate colour section, with most of the preservation era photos in colour as to be expected.

The photos feature up to around 2019 and feature some nice photos of the GBRf livery Class 50 locomotives.

This is a good addition to the library of all those interested in these iconic and powerful locomotives and a good reference resource ahead of the coming Accurascale model. Recommended.

Diesel and Electric Modellers United – Issue 102

"I am sure this book will be of great interest to not only class 50 fans but other enthusiasts as well given the number and quality of the photographs contained within it."

Bradford Railway Circle

Featured by

The Broad Gauge Society

All 50 of the English Electric Class 50s star in this attractively produced hardback book, with the author presenting over 300 images of these popular diesels across a range of locations, albeit all dating from after their transfer to the Western Region. The images are consistently good, with the majority captured in monochrome, although there are also plenty of colour shots from the preservation era. Plenty of interesting workings have been captured and, with lots of surrounding infrastructure in each shot, it’s also a useful record of just how much has changed on the WR since the 1970s.

Model Rail Magazine


Rail, January 2023

"An excellent work for the historian or modeller looking for detail variants and livery changes over a significant part of their service life."

Journal, November/ December 2022

Featured in

The Journal of the Friends of the National Railway Museum - Summer 2022, Issue 180

In what is a highly competent photographic album featuring in the main the author’s own photographs, we are shown the ‘Hoovers’ working mainly on the Western Region and neighbouring lines, with the majority of views captured in the 1980s. The book features 140 pages of black and white images in two-to-a-page format, while a further 25 pages of full colour follow the same layout.

The first thing to strike this reviewer on opening the book is the outstanding quality of the images. The main credit must obviously go to the author and his fellow contributors for their fine sense of composition, and for producing such well-lit and pin sharp views, presumably with some of the best equipment available. But the publisher and Indian printers must also be congratulated for achieving such excellent reproduction in a book priced so reasonably.

It appears that the author has a particular soft spot for signal boxes and semaphores, and those who share this interest will be rewarded with over two dozen compositions including these features, with views of signal boxes at Greaves Sidings, Harbury and Malvern Wells amongst the less frequently seen locations.

Recommended without hesitation.

Barney Forsdike, West Somerset Railway Association

Review as featured in

The Railway Magazine

"Many Class 50 aficionados will find this a satisfying book."

Rail Express - July 2022

Review as featured in

Railways Illustrated

A decent book illustrating this often maligned class of locomotive. Nice volume with good detail

James Simmonds

About Peter J Green

Peter J Green's interest in railways really began in 1959 during a holiday near the former Great Western main line in Devon. At first his hobby was about collecting numbers but, encouraged by his father's interest in photography, he soon began to record the general railway scene. His focus was on steam locomotives initially, but quickly expanded to include diesels, signalling and railway infrastructure. Pursuing what has been an absorbing interest, he has recorded the trains, and the railways on which they run, not only in Great Britain, but also in many other parts of the world. Today he continues to travel and photograph railways as often as he is able to do so.

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