BR Class 14 D9551

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BRBritish Rail or British Railways Class 14 D9551
D9551 20230622.jpg
D9551 (June 2023)
Built By BRBritish Rail or British Railways(W) Swindon Works
Configuration 0-6-0
Power type Diesel Hydraulic
Status In service
Loco Number D9551
Other Numbers 8311/29, 50
Built 1965
Designed By BRBritish Rail or British Railways(W)
Type Class 14
1968 Withdrawn by BRBritish Rail or British Railways
2013 Arrived on SVRSevern Valley Railway
2017 Entered passenger service
Length 34ft 7in
Weight 48½t

Diesel Locomotives

D9551 is an 0-6-0 Class 14 650hp diesel hydraulic locomotive. 56 of these locomotives were built by BRBritish Rail or British Railways's Swindon Works between 1964 and 1965. Locomotives of the class were given the nickname "Teddy Bears", after a comment by Swindon Works foreman George Cole "We've built the Great Bear, now we're going to build a Teddy Bear!"[1].

BRBritish Rail or British Railways Class 14

In 1957 BRBritish Rail or British Railways's Western Region expressed the requirement for a 'Type 1The British Railways classification for diesel locomotives of up to 1000 bhp' 800hp shunter for shunting, short-distance freight trains and working movements between local yards, branch line and light main line use. Design work began under CMEChief Mechanical Engineer RA Smeddle for a locomotive based on the German V80, a centre cab B-B locomotive, but this was put on hold following a decision to increase the power to 1,000hp and add steam heat. This idea was abandoned[note 1] and the plan for the 'Type 1The British Railways classification for diesel locomotives of up to 1000 bhp' was revisited in March 1960, this time based on the German V60 0-6-0. In mid-1961 quotes for the power unit were obtained from Maybach, MAN and Paxman. In September 1961 the decision was announced of Paxman 6YJX engines (providing 650hp) together with a North British transmission (Voith L217) and final drive. Other options considered by Smeddle but not adopted included an 0-8-0 layout, a Diesel -Electric 0-6-0 and a bogie version similar to the Class 17 Clayton[2]

It was already becoming clear that the type of work for which the class 14 was intended was disappearing. The BTC authorised production in May 1962, only to cancel it the following day. Some months later production of 26 locomotives was approved, later increased to 56. The first, D9500, was outshopped in June 1964. The last, D9555, was outshopped in October 1965 and was both the last diesel hydraulic locomotive built for BRBritish Rail or British Railways and the last Swindon-built locomotive intended for UK use.[3]

The type proved to have less than satisfactory performance and reliability, particularly with the Paxman engines which suffered issues with the cylinder heads, bearings and heat exchangers. Old Oak Common was unable to handle the resulting chaos and the entire class was sent to Bristol Bath Road. In early 1966, only a few months after the last example was completed, BRBritish Rail or British Railways instructed the Western Region to prepare for the withdrawal of the class and by the end of 1966 many had been stored. They were offered to the Southern and London Midland Regions who turned down the offer, but eventually 23 were transferred to the Eastern Region for use at Hull Docks which were in the course of modernisation.[note 2] This too proved short-lived, with traffic declining at the Docks, and the Class 14s were taken out of service there in April 1968. The last examples were withdrawn by BRBritish Rail or British Railways in April 1969 after a working life of less than five years. This early withdrawal meant the locomotives were never renumbered under TOPS.[4]

Many of the locomotives found a second home in industry, where they replaced steam shunters. Users included the National Coal Board who acquired 19 for use in the north-east, and British Steel who acquired 23 for use in Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire. Others were acquired by Associated Portland Cement, BP and Gulf Oil, while several examples were also exported to Belgium and Spain. The last recorded industrial use was in 1987.[5]

19 of the class have survived into preservation[6].

D9551 in service

D9551 was one of the final batch of Class 14s produced. It entered BRBritish Rail or British Railways service in September 1965 at Cardiff Canton, later moving to Swansea Landore. In January 1967 it was stored at Worcester shed,[7] before becoming one of the 23 to be reallocated to the Eastern Region, moving to Hull Dairycoates shed in January 1967. It was withdrawn there on 1 April 1968 after less than 2 years 7 months BRBritish Rail or British Railways service.[8]

In late 1968 and early 1969, 23 of the ex-Hull Dairycoates Class 14s were purchased by Stewarts & Lloyds Minerals Ltd, which had become part of the British Steel Corporation in 1967. 15 were allocated to their East Midlands Ironstone quarries at Glendon East and Corby, with the others allocated to their Lincolnshire quarries at Buckminster and Harlaxton. D9551 was acquired in December 1968 and was one of those allocated to Corby. It initially became S&L no. 29,[note 3] and was subsequently repainted into BSCBritish Steel Corporation, or British Sugar Corporation green livery and renumbered as BSCBritish Steel Corporation, or British Sugar Corporation no. 50. It remained in service until early 1981[9][10].

D9551 in preservation

D9551 was purchased for preservation in 1981 by 'Railway Power Services', a group formed from a consortium of West Somerset Railway (WSR) and Diesel and Electric Preservation Group (DEPG) members. It arrived on the WSR from BSCBritish Steel Corporation, or British Sugar Corporation Corby and entered service on 7 June 1981. Over the next few years it saw duty on works trains and passenger services, particularly 'Quantock Belle' dining trains.[11]

In 2003 the locomotive moved to the Royal Deeside Railway Preservation Society at Milton of Crathes[12] where preservation had begun in 1996.[13] In the early stages of preservation D9551 was the only locomotive present.[14]

By 2013 the SVRSevern Valley Railway had acquired examples of the other surviving Western Region diesel hydraulic classes (classes 35, 42 and 52). It had also seen two other visiting Class 14s at Diesel Galas, D9516 in 1988 and more recently D9520 in 2011. A group (originally styled the Severn Valley Railway Class 14 Diesel Group and later the SVR Class 14 Company Limited) carried out a search for a suitable example. D9551 was inspected at Deeside on 2 September 2013 and subsequently acquired from its private owner. It arrived at Bridgnorth on 25 November 2013, quickly gaining the nickname 'Angus' after its previous home.[7] The nickname is no longer used by its owners.

The locomotive was overhauled at Bridgnorth. The engine was started for the first time since arrival at the SVRSevern Valley Railway on 22 August 2015.[15] On 30 April 2016, D9551 underwent its first test run on the SVRSevern Valley Railway between Bridgnorth and Kidderminster, assisted by 50049. A loaded test run took place on 26 October 2016, after which the locomotive was classified as serviceable,[16] although further work and testing took place before its debut at the 2017 Spring Diesel Festival, hauling passengers for the first time on 18 May 2017.[17]

On 5 May 2018 D9551 was called in to action to haul a passenger train following the failure of visiting locomotive 6023 King Edward II on arrival at Bridgnorth. Unfortunately D9551 failed in turn and the passenger service eventually left Bridgnorth behind BR Class 08 D3586. Following repairs, D9551 was rostered for the weekday passenger services between 18-22 June 2018.

D9551 underwent an overhaul in 2020 including the turbo charger, connecting rods, and attention to many other items. Successful test runs took place on Monday 17 August 2020, with the locomotive "…as expected, considerably stronger than previously."[18]

During 2022 the 'coal crisis' saw the increased use of small diesels on midweek services, with D9551 and on-hire Class 20 20048 seeing regular use.[19]

From entry into SVRSevern Valley Railway service until 2023, D9551 carried the non-original 'golden ochre' livery seen above, originally an experimental livery carried by BR Class 52 D1015 Western Champion. In August 2022 it was photographed carrying its BSCBritish Steel Corporation, or British Sugar Corporation number 50. In 2023 it was repainted in BRBritish Rail or British Railways green.

See also


  1. The upgraded locomotive would have been too similar in specification to the Type 2The British Railways classification for diesel locomotives of 1001 bhp to 1499 bhp D6300 already on order from NBL.
  2. The Eastern Region also initially turned down the Class 14s but were pressured into accepting them by the BRBritish Rail or British Railways management.
  3. The full S&L plant number was 8311/29, the 8311 prefix referring to those at Corby and Glendon. Buckminster and Harlaxton locos were prefixed 8411.


  1. The Railway magazine, December 2006
  2. Hydraulic Legends (2018) pp. 69-70.
  3. Hydraulic Legends (2018) pp. 70-71.
  4. Hydraulic Legends (2018) pp. 71-72.
  5. Hydraulic Legends (2018) pp. 72-73.
  6. BR Class 14 on Wikipedia (retrieved 18 June 2018)
  7. 7.0 7.1 SVRSevern Valley Railway News 187, Severn Valley Railway Class 14 Diesel Group, Duncan Ballard
  8. BRDatabase website
  9. Diesel Dawn 7: Western Region 0-6-0s D9500-D9555, John Jennison, 2023, pp. 53, 85.
  10. BRDatabase website
  11. DEPG Archive Snippets (retrieved 18 June 2018)
  13. Royal Deeside Railway on Wikipedia
  14. Preserved Diesels (retrieved 18 June 2018)
  15. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 192
  16. SVR diesel locomotive status retrieved 6 November 2016
  17. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 198
  18. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 211
  19. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 218