Reality Check: The North British D600 ‘Warships’

Although much is known about the Western Region’s famous ‘Warship’ diesel-hydraulics, British Railways owned another set of locomotives with the same description and mechanical layout -  but these were rather unreliable and made an early exit, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES explains.

Above: North British built ‘Warship D601 Ark Royal waits to leave Paddington with the 6.30pm express to Plymouth on August 9 1958. Like all the pilot scheme diesels, the D600s were equipped with headcode disc to allow steam era lamp codes to be carried on the new form of traction. Lewis Coles/Rail Archive Stephenson.

THE D600 class of diesel-hydraulics, all of which were named after warships, were one of the earliest attempts to find a satisfactory solution to the requirement for a mid-power locomotive. Although intended to become one of the diesel standard classes, their design satisfied no one, and production was soon halted in favour of a new revolutionary model, which was to become the ‘Warship’ that we all know and love today.


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