Western Locomotive Association
The Western Locomotive Association Limited ('WLAWestern Locomotive Association Ltd.') owns BRBritish Rail or British Railways Class 52 locomotives D1013 Western Ranger, D1048 Western Lady and D1062 Western Courier.
The WLAWestern Locomotive Association Ltd. was founded in 1974 and was incorporated in November 1999 as a private company limited by guarantee without share capital, company number 03873466. It is also a registered charity number 1115058 with its activities being "The preservation, maintenance and operation in working order of its locomotives D1013 Western Ranger and D1062 Western Courier, so far as reasonably practicable, in a condition authentic to their service on British Railways as museum exhibits and to advance the education of the public in the history of the said locomotives." Its locomotives moved to the SVRSevern Valley Railway in 1978, and 2018 marked 40 years on the SVRSevern Valley Railway. The WLAWestern Locomotive Association Ltd. operates membership by subscription, and publishes Western Courier magazine and The Western Linesider leaflet containing latest WLAWestern Locomotive Association Ltd. news.
At Bridgnorth the WLAWestern Locomotive Association Ltd. has workshops and stores adjacent to Hollybush Road sidings, to the north of the station. The WLAWestern Locomotive Association Ltd. contributed funds to, and also uses the facilities of, the Diesel Depot. The WLAWestern Locomotive Association Ltd. maintains good relations with Rolls Royce (formerly MTU and Maybach) and Voith in Germany, original manufacturers of the engine and transmission types respectively.
It became the first diesel-owning group in the country to go ‘carbon neutral’, working with a specialist rewilding charity to planting trees in the Scottish Highlands to offset the carbon produced by operating its locomotives.
Grants and external funding
- On 29 April 2005 the Heritage Lottery Fund granted the WLAWestern Locomotive Association Ltd. £45,500 towards Western Courier's overhaul, which was used for sending a defective Voith transmission to the manufacturer in Germany.
- In 2008 the WLAWestern Locomotive Association Ltd. received a Preservation of Industrial and Scientific Material (PRISMThe Preservation of Industrial and Scientific Material (PRISM) Fund, a source of funding from the Arts Council/The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.) Fund award of £2,500, which covered the first stage of restoration of D1013.
In 2023 the NLHF responded negatively to an Expression of Interest application to fund a complete bogie overhaul to main line standard (estimated at £756k), saying "the combination of heritage importance, evidence of need and value for money would make it a low priority for lottery funding." The WLAWestern Locomotive Association Ltd. did not proceed further with the application.
The railway operates a sales stand on days when the locomotives operate on the SVRSevern Valley Railway and at diesel and mixed traffic galas, offering Western branded and themed merchandise. The stall is usually at Bridgnorth but during the Bridgnorth Development Project this moved to Kidderminster station concourse and the Diesel Depot. It also operates an online shop.
From the 1980s onwards the WLAWestern Locomotive Association Ltd. has run a very popular series of 'OBBO Tours', giving the opportunity to travel in a train consisting solely of a Western locomotive and one of the Observation saloons. Refreshments are served, a cab ride is available between stations and photographic opportunities are available.
From time-to-time the WLAWestern Locomotive Association Ltd. collaborates in the production of limited edition models. An incomplete list is:
- O Gauge Model Class 52: 'Just Like The Real Thing' modified kit. DCC soundcard with Howes sound on ESU Loksound v 4.0 chip, built to individual specification.
- 2013: A limited edition of 150 Dapol OO gauge models of a Maroon D1062 Western Courier was delayed, with delivery originally promised to coincide with the 50th celebrations of the locomotive in May 2013. Dapol issued a statement in July 2013 apologising for production difficulties and no blame for the delay could be attributed to the WLAWestern Locomotive Association Ltd..
- 2018: Special Edition Dapol OO Gauge "Western" D1013 Western Ranger BRBritish Rail or British Railways Blue - Black-backed plates
- Branch Lines, September 2021
- Western Courier magazine, Autumn 2020, p.28
- The National Lottery
- PRISM Fund Annual Report 2008-2009
- WLAWestern Locomotive Association Ltd. newsletter June 2023