BR Class 52 D1048 Western Lady

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BRBritish Rail or British Railways Class 52 D1048 Western Lady
D1048 Western Lady Swanwick Junction.jpg
D1048 "Western Lady" at Swanwick Junction (2009)
Built By BRBritish Rail or British Railways Crewe Works
Configuration C-C
Power type Diesel Hydraulic
Status Non-operational
Loco Number D1048
Built 1962
Designed By British Railways
Type Class 52
1977 Withdrawn and preserved
2023 Moved to the SVRSevern Valley Railway
Length 68ft
Weight 108t

Diesel Locomotives

BRBritish Rail or British Railways Class 52 D1048 Western Lady is one of four members of the class resident on the SVRSevern Valley Railway. It arrived in September 2023 to take part in the Autumn Diesel Bash as a static exhibit and was subsequently gifted to the Western Locomotive Association. All members of the class were given two-word names beginning "Western", hence the type became known as Westerns. Other nicknames included D1000s or 'thousands', and 'wizzers'. A description of the Class can be found on the D1013 Western Ranger page.

D1048 in service

D1048 was built at Crewe Works in 1962, and was released to traffic on 15 December in maroon with small yellow panels. It was allocated to Cardiff Canton and, except for a month at Bristol Bath Road in early 1963, stayed until 1964 and a move to Newton Abbot. The following year it made its final move to Laira.

The locomotive was the first Western to be painted in blue with full yellow ends on BRBritish Rail or British Railways on 14 November 1966. In July 1970 it was fitted with air brakes in addition to the existing vacuum brakes, and also fitted with the BRBritish Rail or British Railways Automatic Warning System (AWSAutomatic Warning System, a form of limited cab signalling introduced in 1956).[1]

As well as passenger work, one of the duties carried out by Westerns in the south west was 'China Clay' trains. D1048 was photographed on 8 December 1976 working the Etruria - St Blazey china clay train, possibly the last such working.[2]

D1048 hauled the Western Lament on 24 February 1977[3], one of the final Class 52 railtours, and (with classmate 1010) shadowed the Western Tribute farewell tour two days later, having made it to the last day of Western operation on BRBritish Rail or British Railways.

After withdrawal on 28 February 1977 it was stored at Newton Abbot before moving to Swindon in June 1978[4].

D1048 in preservation

Having acquired the locomotive for preservation, the new owner Mr D Rigby[5] agreed with the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in February 1978 that they would enter into an operating agreement to bring the locomotive there. After arriving in October 1978,[6] D1048 worked on the railway including hauling the Pickering to Goathland leg of The Western Recall railtour on 18 March 1979 , the inaugural run of D1048 in BRBritish Rail or British Railways green.[7]

D1048 was then sold to new owners D1048 Western Lady Limited.[5] It spent the period between late 1980 and 1983 stored in Horwich Works, before moving to the now closed Steamport museum at Southport.

The locomotive was subsequently sold again.[5] In July 1978 it moved to become resident on the embryonic Bodmin & Wenford Railway, remaining until summer 1991.[8] D1048 spent time in the early 1990s at the Railway Age, Crewe, owned by Pete Waterman.

During this period it attended BRBritish Rail or British Railways open days including Horwich (1980), Laira (1988) and Crewe Basford Hall (1995).

D1048 arrived at the Midland Railway Centre, Butterley in March 1997, where it was privately owned in the care of the Midland Railway Diesel Group. It spent many years out of service undergoing restoration, although forum discussions suggested the owners appeared to have little public presence or contact with other locomotive groups.[9][10] In August 2021 it was still undergoing "ongoing bodywork repairs prior to a repaint".[11]

Having been cosmetically restored into 1970s BRBritish Rail or British Railways blue livery, D1048 was moved by road from Butterley to the SVRSevern Valley Railway in September 2023 to appear as a static exhibition during the Autumn Diesel Bash. Immediately afterwards the owners Pete Simpson and Marc Koch gifted the locomotive to the Western Locomotive Association[12]. The Railway allowed D1048 to remain for the time being whilst the WLAWestern Locomotive Association Ltd. carried out a full assessment and consulted its membership about returning the locomotive to working order, if it were to be possible[13].

See also


  1. BRDatabase (retrieved 15 October 2023)
  2. Railways in Worcestershire (retrieved 15 October 2023)
  3. Six Bells Junction
  4. Taunton Trains (Retrieved 9 October 2023)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Seventies Spotting Days Chasing the Westerns, Kevin Derrick, 2016
  6. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway in the 1970s, Bernard Wahr, 2019
  7. Six Bells Junction
  8. (retrieved 15 October 2023)
  9. RMWeb, 1048 Western Lady – Ownership, 2012 (Retrieved 15 October 2023)
  10. RailUK Forum, March 2017 (Retrieved 15 October 2023)
  11. Heritage Railway Magazine, Busy Beehive Butterley, 3 August 2021
  12. Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of the Western Locomotive Association 11 November 2023
  13. WLA announcement 8 October 2023