The B T H and North British Type 1 Bo-Bo Diesel-Electric Locomotives - British Railways Classes 15 and 16 (ePub)
Development, Design and Demise
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The British Railways ‘Pilot Scheme’ orders of 1955 included ten BTH and ten NBL Type 1 locomotives, these being introduced during 1957-61 for use in East London, and on the Great Eastern and London, Tilbury & Southend lines. The BTH fleet subsequently expanded to forty-four, as a consequence of their light axle-loading and the availability of spare manufacturing capacity which BR chose to exploit in their quest to eliminate steam traction.
Further construction of these two classes ceased after the fifty-four units, with preference being given to the highly reliable English Electric product which by mid-1962 had proliferated to 128 examples.
The NBL fleet survived until 1968, being withdrawn after ten years of indifferent performance. The BTH locomotives followed by 1971, although four lingered on as carriage pre-heating units. Dramatic reductions in goods traffic during the 1960s/70s particularly impacted local trip and transfer freight duties, the ‘bread and butter’ work for the Type 1s, and it was inevitable that the less successful classes were retired from traffic first.
This book looks at the short history of these two classes, making extensive use of archive sources, combined with the primary observations of numerous enthusiasts. Previously unpublished information, covering the introduction, appearance design and performance issues of the locomotives, form a central focus, and, allocations, works histories, storage and disposals, liveries and detail differences are covered in the same level of detail as previous volumes in the ‘Locomotive Portfolio” series.
This is the fourth book in A.P. Sayer’s “Locomotive Portfolio” series, following on from Classes 21/29, 28 and 17. It is of particular interest to us because these diesels were the last locomotives to regularly work freight trains up the Colne Valley Railway from Marks Tey to Halstead goods yard, which closed on 15th May 1965. The book is exceptionally detailed and runs to 350 pages, giving an individual locomotive history with allocations, dates for introduction, transfers, withdrawals and eventual scrapping. Profusely illustrated throughout in monochrome and colour, it is an invaluable reference work for anyone interested in modelling the class 15 or 16 locos and their sphere of operations in East Anglia. The pictures of the stored locos at Ipswich Depot (itself now swept away under new housing) are of particular interest. However, it is the two shots in the Operations section showing D8227 (in colour) and D8228 (mono) shunting Halstead Goods yard that we reproduce here. Just one Class 15, a former carriage heating unit conversion, lacking both power plant and traction motors, survived into preservation. Although fitted with a replacement Paxman diesel engine, it has yet to run in preservation, but one would like to think that perhaps, one day, we can bring this iconic loco back to the preserved lines of the Colne & Stour valleys. Our own layout “Little Colne” features no less than three Class 15 models, all by different manufacturers: Helijan, Dave Alexander Models and TechCad Design.Braintree & Halstead Model Railway Club
I have no hesitation in recommending this superb book to anyone interested in the Pilot Scheme diesels, early BR diesel operations or East Anglian trains in general.