BR Class 50 50007 Hercules
50007 Hercules is a BRBritish Rail or British Railways Class 50 diesel locomotive, purchased by the SVRSevern Valley Railway-based Class 50 Alliance in November 2016. Between 1984 and 2014, it was named Sir Edward Elgar.
BRBritish Rail or British Railways Class 50
Fifty English Electric Type 4The British Railways classification for diesel locomotives of 2000 bhp to 2999 bhp (later BRBritish Rail or British Railways Class 50) diesel locomotives were built by English Electric at their Vulcan Foundry Works plant in Newton-le-Willows between 1967 and 1968. When built they were numbered in the D4xx series. They later became BRBritish Rail or British Railways’s Class 50, being allocated TOPSTotal Operations Processing System, an American computer system adopted by BR in the late 1960s to number and manage rolling stock. numbers in the 50xxx series. The class was nicknamed “Hoovers” because of the distinctive sound of the inertial air-filters with which the locomotives were originally fitted.
Initially the locomotives were used to haul express passenger trains on the West Coast Main Line (WCML) between Crewe and Scotland; that section not then being electrified. This often entailed ‘Multiple Working’, with two locomotives under control of a single driver.
By 1974 the northern WCML had been electrified, and the Class 50 fleet was being transferred to BRBritish Rail or British Railways’s Western Region to work main line passenger services out of London Paddington.
The Class 50s did not originally carry names, but in the late 1970s BRBritish Rail or British Railways agreed to their being named after Royal Navy vessels with notable records in the First and Second World Wars.
Withdrawal of the class began in the early 1990s.
50007 Hercules in service
D407 entered service in August 1968, having been built by English Electric.
50007 was named Hercules on 06 April 1978, after the British battleship of the same name. On 25 February 1984, the locomotive was outshopped in Brunswick Green and renamed Sir Edward Elgar, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Great Western Railway. After being withdrawn on 16 July 1991, the locomotive was re-instated for railtour service, and was one of the two Class 50 locomotives to haul the final BRBritish Rail or British Railways Class 50 railtour, the 50 Terminator. 50007 was the second to last member of the fleet, being retired on 26 March 1994.
50007 Hercules in preservation
50007 Sir Edward Elgar was purchased by the Class 40 Appeal and was transferred to the Midland Railway Butterley in July 1994. Under this name, 50007 attended SVR diesel galas in 2000 and 2004. In 2013, the locomotive was sold to a private owner and relocated to Washwood Heath, where it was repainted from GWRGreat Western Railway Green to BRBritish Rail or British Railways Blue, and re-named Hercules.The Class 50 Alliance acquired the locomotive in November 2016, being fitted with the relevant equipment for mainline running. Early 2017 saw her at Kidderminster TMD where her generators were removed, sent away for overhaul and refitted, before planned haulage of a number of railtours in 2017 and 2018 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the class.
50007 became the first locomotive to use the newly installed lifting jacks in the Diesel Depot when it was lifted for maintenance on 4th November 2017.
Unlike the other Fifty Fund operated locomotives there is no running agreement with the SVRSevern Valley Railway.
See alsoDiesel Locomotives
Locomotives running under different identities
- Wikipedia - British Rail Class 50, accessed 22 November 2016
- English Electric Archive | 50007 Hercules, accessed 22 November 2016
- The Fifty Fund - 50007 Hercules, accessed 22 November 2016