Locomotive numbering

Renumbering in service

Steam locomotives

Steam locomotives frequently carried more than one number during their working life. Renumbering usually came about through company mergers, in particular after the Grouping of 1923 and Nationalisation in 1947, from which only the GWR emerged relatively unaffected. The LMS 'outgrew' its original post-grouping numbering system and carried out a substantial renumbering exercise in 1935.[1] Companies also renumbered for other operational reasons, as happened to GWR 9303 (renumbered to 7325 when rebuilt). Following Nationalisation, SR numbers were generally incremented by 30,000, LMS by 40,000 and LNER by 60,000.

SVR steam locomotives currently resident which carried more than one number in service are (current number in bold):

LMS Ivatt Class 2 46443 and LMS Ivatt Class 4 43106 were built by BR to LMS designs and therefore did not require renumbering after entered service.

Manchester Ship Canal Hunslet 0-6-0T 686, which was originally named "St John" and later numbered 14, was renamed "The Lady Armaghdale" (but not numbered) by ICI.

Diesel Locomotives

Many diesel locomotives also carried more than one number in the BR era. The original BTC/BR 1948 system used numbers in the range 10000-19999:

Range Type
10xxx Main line diesel locomotives
11xxx Diesel-mechanical or Diesel-hydraulic shunters up to 299 hp
12xxx Ex-LMS shunters over 300 hp
13xxx Diesel-electric large shunters over 300 hp
150xx Ex-LNER diesel shunters
151xx Ex-GWR diesel shunters
152xx Ex-SR diesel shunters

By the mid-1950s the growth of the fleet meant a new numbering policy was required. Under the new '1957 Numbering System', diesel locomotives were numbered in groups according to their 'Type' (ie power classification):

Range Type Engine power
D1-D1999 Type 4 2000 to 2999 hp
D2000-D2999 Shunters Under 300 hp
D3000-D4999 Shunters 300 to 799 hp
D5000-D6499 Type 2 1001 to 1499 hp
D6500-D7999 Type 3 1500 to 1999 hp
D8000-D8999 Type 1 800 to 1000 hp
D9000-D9999 Type 5 Over 3000 hp

Existing locomotives were therefore renumbered under this policy, for example the 13xxx series became D3xxx/D4xxx with 13022 becoming D3022.

After the end of steam in the late 1960s, the 'D' prefix was omitted so that, for example, D821 became 821. Classes 35 and 52 with their cast numbers and number plates had the 'D' painted out (or sometimes removed), although enthusiasts sometimes removed the paint to leave the original prefix and number showing.

A further and more significant renumbering was carried out in the early 1970s after BR introduced TOPS codes at the end of the 1960s. Diesel locomotives were allocated into classes with the class being the first two digits in the new locomotive number. D3022 was allocated into Class 08, resulting in another new number of 08015. Certain classes slated for early withdrawal were allocated a class number but never received the five figure TOPS number, these included the Class 11 and the WR diesel hydraulic Classes 14, 35, 42 and 52 now resident on the SVR.

SVR Diesels currently resident which carried more than one number in service are (current number in bold):

Different numbers carried in preservation

Many locomotives have also carried more than one number in preservation. For consistency all locomotives are listed according to the last number they carried, usually that used by BR following nationalisation. Locomotives that were owned by a main line company and were sold for use in industry are listed under their last main line number. Locomotives that ran under a different number while at the SVR were:


Current locomotives

  • 686: Also ran as Manchester Ship Canal No 14 'St. John' and as No 1 'Thomas' in blue livery. Currently liveried as 686 in ICI red livery.
  • 813: For the March 2002 Branch Line Gala ran as 'Lord Salisbury'.
  • 5764: Also ran as L95 in LT livery.
  • 7812 Erlestoke Manor: Also ran as sister 7802 Bradley Manor for a short time in 2012 for the visit of Olympian Bradley (now Sir Bradley) Wiggins.
  • 34027 Taw Valley: Also ran as sisters 34045 'Ottery St Mary' and 34036 'Westward Ho!', and in maroon livery as 'Hogwarts Express'. Appeared as 34022 'Exmoor' and 34046 'Braunton' while at the West Somerset Railway in spring 2004. Ran as 70 'Queen Elizabeth II' during the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in 2022.
  • 13268: Also ran as LMS 2968 and BR 42968. Currently liveried as 13268.
  • 43106: Photographed in 2010 carrying number 43126.
  • 46443: Also ran as LMS 6443. Currently liveried as 46443.
  • 47383: Also ran as LMS 7383 and as No 1 'Thomas' in blue livery. For the Somerset & Dorset themed March 2002 Branch Line Gala ran as 47557. Currently liveried as 47383.
  • 48773: Also ran as LMS 8233, cosmetically restored as WD307. Appeared as 48188 in 1971 for a film concerning the heroism of the late Driver John Axon GC[2]. Currently liveried as 48773.

Former residents

Visitors with changed identities at the SVR


Current locomotives

  • Ruston and Hornsby Shunter 319290: Also ran as fictitiously numbered D2957 prior to a repaint in May 2017.
  • BR Class 42 D821 Greyhound: In 1996 ran as "Colin Massingham - Preservation Pioneer". Also carried "Despatch" plates as D812
  • 50007 Hercules: Also ran as 50007 as 'Edward Elgar' in green livery when visiting for galas. Subsequently has carried different identities on one side including 50014 and 50034.
  • 50031 Hood: Also ran in BR Blue livery with her pre-TOPS number D431
  • 50035 Ark Royal: Also ran as fictitious 50135 in 'Loadhaul' livery
  • 50044 Exeter: Also ran in BR Blue livery with her pre-TOPS number D444
  • 50049 Defiance: Also ran as 50149 in Railfreight Distribution two tone grey livery and in BR Blue livery with her pre-TOPS number D449
  • D1015 Western Champion: Also ran with numbers and plates from scrapped sister D1058 Western Nobleman, D1031 Western Rifleman (2016 rail tour) and D1046 Western Marquis (2007 filming)
  • D1062 Western Courier: Also ran as D1040 Western Queen during the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

Former locomotives

In addition locomotives have run under other identities for film and TV productions filmed on the Severn Valley Railway

See also