Class 50s go West

The distinctive Class 50s were perhaps at their best after being reallocated to the Western Region in the 1970s, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES describes.

With impressive looks, striking large logo colour scheme and warship names, the Class 50s have always been popular with enthusiasts. During the 1970s, they put up many impressive performances on express duties to the West of England and, even after those ceased, they found yet another use on fast trains from Waterloo to Exeter before finally being taken out of service 30 years ago in 1994.

However, the Class 50 locomotives were plagued with reliability issues which meant only 50 were built. They are also unusual in that, at first, they were not owned by British Rail (BR) itself, but by English Electric, their builder, which leased them to BR.

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