29 November 2017: With 2017 marking 50 years since English Electric first debuted its Class 50, one of the most popular diesel-electric locomotives ever to run on British rails, Haynes has published a manual to celebrate its achievements.
With fascinating insight into the history, operation and restoration of the Class 50 provided by author Jarrod Cotter, the English Electric Class 50 Owners’ Workshop Manual contains a wealth of previously unpublished colour photographs – including images of all 50 locos built.
It also draws on the experience of professional railwaymen and preservationists to give the reader a driver’s and engineer’s view of how this iconic locomotive was operated in its heyday, and what is involved in running a preserved example today.
Talking about the history of the Class 50, Jarrod Cotter says: “During the late 1960s, with the ongoing electrification of the West Coast Main Line (WCML) from Crewe, and the imminent withdrawal of steam locomotives, the London Midland Region faced a gap in motive power for services northwards to Glasgow. The solution came in the form of hiring a fleet of 50 newly built English Electric Type 4 diesel-electric locomotives – the Class 50. The locomotives entered service in 1967 and provided motive power on the WCML for the next seven years, until the electrification of the line right through to Glasgow.
“The entire fleet of Class 50s was then transferred to the Western Region (WR), where they helped with the replacement of the non-standard diesel-hydraulics until the arrival of the Inter-City 125 High Speed Train. It was on the WR that the 50s were to find their spiritual home, gaining great popularity, and during this period all were named after Royal Navy warships.”
Nicknamed ‘Hoovers’ by rail enthusiasts due to the distinctive sound made by the air-filters originally fitted, the Class 50 retired from British Rail service in 1994. Due to its popularity, it was given a retirement programme like no other, which was recorded in great detail. Overseeing the retirement process was Laira Depot (Plymouth) Fleet Manager Geoff Hudson, who provides a foreword for the book.
The English Electric Class 50 Manual joins a fine line-up of other railway titles from Haynes, including the Castle Class Manual, the Flying Scotsman Manual, the Stephenson’s Rocket Manual, the Steam Locomotive Driver’s Manual, and the A1 Tornado Manual.
About the author
Jarrod Cotter is a lifelong fan of the Class 50, and the former assistant editor of Traction magazine, which concentrates solely on historic British diesel and electric railway locomotives. He is a shareholder in The Fifty Fund, which owns and operates several locomotives today as part of the Class 50 Alliance. Jarrod is the author of Haynes Manuals covering the Avro Lancaster, Bristol Blenheim, North American P-51 Mustang and Sopwith Camel.
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