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Class 50 Gallery

Images of Class 50 Locomotives taken in the Taunton Area. The Class 50 was probably one of the best liked locomotives for Enthusiasts in the South West. During their mainline operation, they had a large following of enthusiasts willing to ride them and photograph them. The class were built at the Vulcan Foundry at Newton le Willows between January 1967 and December 1968 and were out shopped with the numbers D400-D449, during the introduction of the TOPS system in the 1970's they of course became 50001 - 50050. They were originally built to haul trains on the non electrified sections of the West Coast Mainline to the North of Crewe. Once electrification was complete the class were transferred onto the Western Region and slowly took over diagrams previously covered by the Class 52 'Westerns'. The Western Region had a tradition of naming it's locomotives, so with the Class 50's took the names of naval warships. During the late 1970's the Class 50's were given a full overhaul / refurbishment program which was carried out at Doncaster Works, many years of being thrashed up and down the West Coast Mainline had taken it's toll and the Class reliability was suffering as a result. While in works they class were modernized and completely repainted into BR Large Logo livery. After refurbishment the locos returned to the Western Region where their efforts were concentrated on the Exeter - Waterloo route, but many others still worked on varied diagrams, including a dedicated pool of locomotives for infrastructure work. The Class lasted until 1994, when 50007 'Sir Edward Elgar' and 50050 'Fearless' worked the final farewell railtour from London Waterloo - Exeter - London Paddington.

10th June 2018
British Rail Blue Class 50 No. 50035 'Ark Royal' powers through Leigh Crossing on Sunday 10th June 2018 hauling the Quantock Belle on the 10:59 Minehead - Bishops Lydeard service during the 2018 Diesel Gala Weekend.
(Photo: Phil Izzard)


8th June 2018
Class 50 No. 50035 'Ark Royal' waits for the off at Washford on Friday 8th June 2018 during the West Somerset Railway Diesel Gala Weekend. The BR Blue Class 50 was visiting from the Severn Valley Railway and was the first time in many years a Class 50 had appeared in a Gala line up. The locomotive was working the 12:03 Bishops Lydeard - Minehead service having dropped passengers off to enjoy the Beer on offer at the Washford Beer Festival held in the Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust shed.
(Photo: Brian Garrett)


13th January 2018
Taunton was again treated to some fifty year old English Electric traction on the 13th January 2018, with former British Rail Class 50 No. 50008 'Thunderer' making a return visit to the South West to collect the Network Rail Rail Grinder it dropped off a Okehampton on January 5th. Having worked down to Devon on Friday 12th January with Class 56 No.56104 the Class 50 lead proceedings for the return trip with the Class 56 formed on the opposite end of the train ready for a reversal at Gloucester. In a stunning show of English Electric power Laira Blue 'Thunderer' powers past Norton Fitzwarren hauling the 4Z03 08:00 Okehampton - Chaddesden Sidings with Rail Grinder (DR79501 - DR79507) and a dead Class 56 in tow.
(Photo: Brian Garrett)


13th January 2018
Taken on the 13th January 2018, with former British Rail Class 50 No. 50008 'Thunderer' hauling the 4Z03 08:00 Okehampton - Chaddesden Sidings with Rail Grinder (DR79501 - DR79507) and a dead Class 56 in tow.
(Photo: Eddy)


12th January 2018
Former British Rail Class 50 No. 50008 'Thunderer' hauled Class 56 No.56104 to Exeter before continuing to Okehampton alone on the 12th January 2017. The locomotives came down to collect a Lorum Rail Grinder from the Dartmoor Railway and return it to Derby on the 13th. No. 50008 'Thunderer' is picutred passing Staplegrove Road as the 0Z03 09:46 Leicester Depot - Crediton light engine move.
(Photo: Jeff Treece)


5th January 2018
Former British Rail 'Laira Blue' Class 50 No. 50008 'Thunderer' passes the western end of Fairwater Yard while operating the 4Z03 08:00 Derby RTC - Okeheampton hauling Network Rail Lorum Rail Grinder DR79501, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06 & 07 for staff training. The Grinder will remain on site at Okehampton for staff training and the Class 50 is booked to return north during Saturday 6th January 2018.
(Photo: Adam Snow)


5th January 2018
An English Electric Class 50 made a rousing and welcome appearance at Taunton Friday 5th January. 'Laira Blue Class 50 No. 50008 'Thunderer' scatters the pidgeons as it passes through Taunton station working 4Z03 08:00 Derby RTC - Okeheampton with Network Rail Lorum Railgrinder DR79501, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06 & 07 in tow. The ensemble is pictured passing 40 Steps, Taunton heading for Exeter where the locomotive then ran round its consist before heading for Okehampton. The Lorum Grinder will be used for training Netowkr Rail staff on the Okehampton branch. After an overnight stay in Exeter the former British Rail Class 50 is booked to return light engine to Derby on Saturday 6th January.
(Photo: Stephen A.Ginn)


16th September 2017
Saturday 16th September 2017 provided the return of two former British Rail Class 50’s to Somerset and Devon working Pathfinder Tours ‘The Torbay and Dart Explorer’ railtour from Worcester Shrub Hill through to Kingswear. The first leg of the charter from Burton on Trent to Wocester having been hauled by DB Cargo Class 66 No.66129. The Class 50’s returned to their former 1980’s stomping ground bringing the sound of two English Electric 16 CSVT engines working hard as they passed through the area. The pair were clocked running at over 100mph in several locations during their journey. The Fifty Fund which now cares for six of the Class at their Kidderminster base, provided No. 50007 'Hercules' ‘Hercules’ and No. 50049 'Defiance' ‘Defiance’ for day trip to the English Riviera. Exiting from Somerset into Devon the pair of English Electric locomotives haul the Torbay and Dart Explorer out of Whiteball Tunnel with their almost complete rake of British Rail Blue/Grey coaching stock.
(Photo: S A Ginn)


16th September 2017
BR Large Logo Class 50 No. 50049 'Defiance' & No. 50007 'Hercules' head back across the Somerset levels at Oath hauling the returning Pathfinder Tours 'Torbay and Dart Exploerer' charter to Burton on Trent operating as the 1Z52 16:15 Kingswear to Burton-on-Trent on the 16th September 2016.
(Photo: S A Ginn)


7th July 2017
Recreating scenes of over 25 years ago the sight of a British Rail 'Laira' Blue Class 50 in the village of Creech St Michael in 2017 on a revenue earning freight train twice in one month is unprecedented. Having already operated light engine to Exeter on Thursday 6th July 2017, BR Class 50 No. 50008 'Thunderer' 'Thunderer' proceeded to Okehampton where it collected the Network Rail Lorum Rail Grinder. The locomotive formed the 4Z01 08:30 Okehemapton - Chaddesden Sidings and is seen here passing the village of Creech St Michael on route north to Derby.
(Photo: Darren Harris)


7th July 2017
Thursday 6th July 2017, BR Class 50 No. 50008 'Thunderer' operated from Exeter to Okehampton where it collected a Network Rail Lorum Rail Grinder. The locomotive formed the 4Z01 08:30 Okehemapton to Cheddesden Sidings and is seen here passing Bathpool on the retrun trip to the Midlands.
(Photo: Eddy)


29th June 2017
BR 'Laira Blue' Class 50 No. 50008 'Thunderer' passes Norton Fitzwarren on the 29th June 2017 while working the 4Z01 12:45 Cheddesden Sidings - Okehampton hauling Network Rail Lorum Rail Grinder to the Dartmoor Railway for staff training.
(Photo: Eddy)


29th June 2017
The UK Railway system can turn up some very unique and bizarre workings on the mainline. The old adage of 'never say never' couldn't of been any more true in June. Those who would of put money on three operational former British Rail Class 50's visiting Taunton in under two weeks of one another would of been in for a large payout. On the 29th June 2017, Laira Blue Class 50 No. 50008 'Thunderer' made a return to its former stomping ground in the South West by means of working the 4Z01 12:45 Chaddeston - Okehampton with a Lorum Rail Grinder in tow. The Grinder which has been purchased by Network Rail has been developed in America and will be used to train UK staff on the Okehampton branch. Thunderer is pictured at Bathpool with the remarkable working heading for Exeter and Okehampton.
(Photo: Thomas Courtney)


14th June 2017
BR Blue Class 50 No. 50007 'Hercules' 'Hurcules' and Large Logo No. 50049 'Defiance' 'Defiance' haul the pair of visiting Class 20's from the West Somerset Railway back to The Midland Railway centre. The group of colourful locomotives was captured passing Charlton Bridge near Cogload Junction on the 14th June 2017.
(Photo: Tony Christie)


14th June 2017
Having had their short break in Somerset all be it doing a spot of sunbathing at Bishops Lydeard, Class 50's No. 50007 'Hercules' & No. 50049 'Defiance' burst back into life on Wednesday 14th June 2017. The pair of locomotives coupled up to WSR Diesel Gala visitors Class 20's No.D8059 and D8188 to return them to the Midland Railway Centre at Butterely. The 0Z50 08:56 from Bishops Lydeard passes Bathpool on route north.
(Photo: Shaun Mockridge)


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