Western Locomotive Association
The WLA 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 SVR in 1978, and 2018 marked 40 years on the SVR. The WLA operates membership by subscription, and publishes Western Courier magazine and The Western Linesider leaflet containing latest WLA news.
Both locomotives are based at Bridgnorth where the WLA has workshops and stores adjacent to Hollybush Road sidings, to the north of the station. The WLA contributed funds to, and also uses the facilities of, the Diesel Depot. The WLA 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 WLA £45,500 towards Western Courier's overhaul, which was used for sending a defective Voith transmission to the manufacturer in Germany..
- In 2008 the WLA received a Preservation of Industrial and Scientific Material (PRISM) Fund award of £2,500, which covered the first stage of restoration of D1013.
The railway operates a sales stand on days when the locomotives operate on the SVR 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 WLA 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 WLA 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 WLA.
- 2018: Special Edition Dapol OO Gauge "Western" D1013 Western Ranger BR Blue - Black-backed plates