A brand new book about British Rail Class 50 locomotives.
Written by Ian Horner (Co-author of First of the Last – The Life and Times of 50050 Fearless)
Compiled by Andy Coward (Regular writer for RAIL magazine and co-author of First of the Last, author of Together In Electric Dreams – E3137/86259 Les Ross and his brand new title, The Decline of British Railways in Bury and Rossendale)
This publication presents a detailed review of British Rail Class 50 locomotive-operations throughout the 1980s, when interest and popularity in the fleet peaked after years of largely being ignored or even disliked by many diesel enthusiasts.
The book recalls the highs and lows of the Class across the decade from refurbishment, which from around the turn of the 1980s breathed new life into the ‘50s’ as they were progressively repainted in BR’s strikingly bold new livery – later to become known as ‘large-logo blue’ or simply ‘large-logo’. With the complete fleet of 50 Class 50s also bearing Royal Navy themed names, applied in the late-1970s, interest soared – helped by the withdrawal and gradual reductions of well-loved cousins the Class 55 ‘Deltics’ and the ‘40s’, many of whose fans turned their attentions to the ‘50s’.
Following a reprise of their career so far and a look at how the ‘50s’ came to be named, Class 50s: The Large-Logo Years reviews of the refurbishment programme and examines why it was so important. Subsequent chapters chart the story of the class through the 1980s by timetable period, including; changes in workload, locomotive rosters, depot reallocations and reliability concerns, to the heady days of the mid-1980s – arguably the high-water mark of the ‘50s’.
With ‘sectorisation’ came big changes in BR fleet planning and management, and in the last quarter of the decade, the decline of the ‘50s’ began as the fleet saw less use on express passenger trains and more focus on other traffic such as parcels, freight and departmental work. Class 50s: The Large-Logo Years charts this period and muses how in spite of them falling from favour, BR found it could not do without the ‘50s’ and continued to expect a lot from them in spite of minimal expenditure on heavy maintenance.
The book’s chronology is interspersed with specific chapters including; a review of the Doncaster Works era, freight operations, the Sir Edward Elgar story, the 1988 railtours over Shap, the inside story of the Laira F-exams and a close look at the various liveries carried by the ‘50s’. The Foreword is written by Geoff Hudson, Area Fleet Manager at Laira depot during the locomotives’ final years working for Network SouthEast.
Class 50s: The Large-Logo Years is illustrated by a wealth of photographs, kindly supplied by photographers from across the UK. All but a handful are published for the first time in printed form.
This is a 192-page perfect-bound hard-backed book, priced at £25.00 with profits being put towards the upkeep and preservation of two Class 50s; 50029 Renown and 50030 Repulse. This limited edition has received rave reviews in enthusiast periodicals such as Railways Illustrated and is sure to be a welcome addition to any enthusiasts' library.