For this feature article, New Build Steam will again be venturing off its regular beat, and looking at the world of new build diesels. Again, this in standard gauge – new build narrow gauge diesels are nothing novel, and of course there are no broad gauge ones.

Additionally, each group has been approached to provide a mini Q+A – the responses of those who did so are also included below. We start with the project to recreate the oldest design, LMS 10000, and will then look at the rest in ascending TOPS order.

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LMS 10000
Class 21
Class 22
Class 23 ‘Baby Deltic’

LMS 10000
As has been reported briefly on these pages in the past, a project to recreate the first main line diesel electric locomotive, the LMS’s no. 10000, commenced in 2011. It specifies its aims as being to create a locomotive with:

  • The exterior appearance of the original locomotive
  • The sound of the original locomotive
  • The original characteristics of the locomotive as far as reasonably practicable.

As this suggests, and in common with most steam projects, the finished product will not be an absolutely precise copy of the original, not least because of modern standards for diesel traction.

The lengthy lineage of 10000 and its sister 10001 is what has made the project feasible – there is a pleasing sense of the engineering coming full circle. The new locomotive will be based on a class 58 chassis (from 58022), that class being arguably the latest direct descendant of the LMS design, also being built in Derby and with some of the same staff involved. Both utilised the same ‘backbone’ design principle, and had many key dimensions in common. A genuine English Electric 16SVT engine will be installed, which saw relatively light use during its life as a generating set. The bogie design of the BR class 77 DC electric locomotive will be used (for which see the Q+A below).

The original 10000 was an Ivatt design for the LMS, built at Derby in 1947. Its sister followed in 1948, as a British Railways locomotive, and the pair were used initially on routes out of Euston and St Pancras, and for a period on the Southern Region. 10000 was scrapped in 1963, with 10001 following in 1968.

The engine for the new 10000 is now at the Peak Railway with 58022, and the group is currently focusing on fundraising and collecting components during the period when recovery from the mechanically related classes 20 and 37 is possible. A next step will be to strip the donor locomotive, and sell any unwanted components. At this year’s AGM, the decision was taken not to run 10000 on the main line, both to avoid having to comply with regulatory requirements that would take the locomotive’s final form further away from the original, and to keep the timescales shorter and the project readily feasible.

The engine for the new 10000. Photo courtesy of the Ivatt Diesel Recreation Society.

The Ivatt Diesel Recreation Society’s engineer, Paul Etherington, took the time to answer some questions for New Build Steam.

How and why did the project start, and how did the group’s members come together?
The Society began in 2011 and was begun by engineers intent on correcting the wrong caused by the original loco’s scrapping. Original meetings were organised via announcements in the railway media.

Members are spread throughout the UK along with a few around the Commonwealth. We are focussing on creating a Midlands Area Group to meet in person and to be the starting point for practical work on the loco including stripping down 58022.

Overall, what do you expect the total cost and timescales to be?
The total cost to do a professional quality job could well be £750,000. As with all other new build projects, timescales depend upon volunteer input and third party co-operation. A timescale of 10-15 years seems reasonable.

Why are you looking to use class 77 bogies, and not the original design (albeit that they’re very similar)? They’re a Metropolitan Vickers design, not English Electric – what’s the score there?
The D16/1 and EM2 bogies are essentially the same Edward Fox design. The main difference lies in the choice of traction motor along with differences with the sandboxes and bracing. However the class 77 bogies were designed in Doncaster drawing office as an improvement of the bogies designed for 10000. Lessons learned were implemented that resulted in a mostly trouble free service life both here and in the Netherlands. The Bo-Bo version of this design can be found under classes 26 /27 and 33.

Numerous projects, diesel and steam, making substantial use of donor components face the question of to what extent they’re building a particular class, or more of a ‘lookalike’. You’re very clear that you aim to reproduce the original’s sound and appearance, but how much will it differ from the original – thinking in terms of things like electrical systems in particular?
We aim to make a locomotive which looks like, sounds like and performs like the original. It will be slightly longer since the 58 frame is longer. The Class 58 chassis was chosen because it, like 10000, use a separate frame rather than being of monocoque construction. The side wall of 10000’s body had to be removable during construction because the roof of Derby Works diesel building was not high enough to crane the power unit in from above. Interestingly some of the same staff at Derby were part of the team who designed 10000 and the Class 58, at either end of their careers. On the inside it will be a respectful but not slavish copy of the original. It is anticipated that some modern engine monitoring equipment will be included. Control cabinets, brake frames will consist of contemporary equipment that can be sourced from locomotives still utilised upon the railway network for the time being. The internals of the locomotive will look authentic with the chosen equipment. To add to this the anticipated performance characteristics utilizing the chosen equipment will be very similar to the Derby D16/1 design.

What has the reaction been like to the announcement of the decision not to take 10000 onto the main line? It seems extremely well-founded, and other groups have reached exactly the same decision – has it made any difference to the project?
There has been 100% positive reaction to our announcement to limit 10000 to heritage line running. Our Chairman Mark Walker posted the reasons to our website FAQ page notably that the locomotive’s tractive effort will be insufficient to haul commercially viable (ie long and heavy) trains so such running wouldn’t be cost effective or mechanically sensible.

While almost everyone would like to see the loco on the mainline they understand that, given modern safety requirements and the like, it will just not be possible. The finished product would look different outside and in. This policy will make a difference to the timescale in which the loco can be completed.

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Class 21
Of the four projects featured here, this is the one that appears not to be going ahead.

The class 21s were one of three classes of externally similar diesels initially built by North British Locomotives, during the company’s final unhappy period when it struggled to match its success in building steam locomotives with more modern forms of traction. The 21s and 22s used engines built under licence from the German company MAN, the build quality of which is widely cited as one of the reasons for the designs’ relative lack of success – although the classes have their defenders. The 21s were the diesel electric variety, and the 22s diesel hydraulic. Twenty of the class 21s ended up being given new Paxman engines and designated class 29, but still being swiftly withdrawn as non-standard – the last 21 left service in 1968 and the last 29 in 1971. One 21, D6122, notoriously survived at Barry until 1980.

The scope of the proposed new build project was not totally clear. It appeared to have sourced a MAN engine, and stated on its website: “The goal of the project is a fully operable locomotive remade from the NBL Type 2 engine. We have fully sourced sufficient parts to make this, a new body needs fabricating.” From the focus of the website, it appears that the intention was to create a class 21, not 22.

A class 21 pictured near Harringay early in its career. Photo by Ben Brooksbank, reproduced under Creative Commons licence BY-SA 2.0.

The project to appears to have been based around using class 27 27007 as the basis for the locomotive. This was controversial: although highly delapidated, 27007 is the last of its class in original condition, as all other surviving examples went through BR’s refurbishment programme in the 1980s that saw them though the last years of their working lives. However, in March this year, 27007 was moved from the Mid Hants Railway to the Caledonian Railway for restoration. A figure involved with the class 21 project left a message on the National Preservation forum suggesting it might still go ahead in some form.

New Build Steam emailed the project on the email address given on its website, inviting them to complete a Q+A. [UPDATE: Dave Kew has since been in touch to confirm that the project is now in abeyance.]

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An unusual view of a class 22. By Hugh Llewellyn on Flickr, under Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Class 22
Work to construct a new example of the NBL’s hydraulic variant is making much more solid progress. It arose from discussion on a Facebook group, and has since taken on a clear structure and purpose, with a highly informative website giving details of all aspects of its work.

A MAN engine has been located, and the cost of the build is estimated at £1.2 million, over a timescale of roughly ten years. Other components currently held are buffers and some cab contols, but priority is currently being given to planning over obtaining components; those that are held are stored at the premises of the South Wales Loco Cab Preservation Group, although this site is too small to be the eventual base for construction. It is expected that many items can be taken from class 47s.

The new locomotive will not be taken onto the main line, for the same reasons as 10000, although like it, it will be capable of being towed across the national network between preserved lines.

David Forster from the group kindly answered the below Q+A.

1. The idea arose on a Facebook group – why did a class 22 arise from this as a candidate for construction, rather than anything else?
It was originally discussed via one of the Facebook Hydraulic pages (BR DH’s 1958-1979). There were a number of us who were randomly talking about the class 22 and how it was a missed loco, and what it meant in railway history. The founding Chairman comically says it is all down to his new iPad that it arose, as that is where David started the Project 22 Facebook page. Very early on, consideration was given as to whether it was feasible technically and practicably, but within a few weeks Doug Parfitt the Project Manager disclosed that all the drawings were available. And from the missing classes of locos it was an easier, simpler, and more basic loco to possibly rebuild. There weren’t really any other locomotives that didn’t exist on some form from the BR days, as many can still be formed from pre-existing locos.

2. Have you had any contact/collaboration with the proposed Class 21 project? Or more generally with other diesel groups (new build or others) – is there much collaboration, as there is with steam projects?
The proposed Class 21 project I believe to date has died a death. We were in contact with the main guy but there appears to have been an issue technically/practically with its feasibility (for starters the Class 21 used cast bogies, something that doesn’t come very cheap). To date no examples, exist. We do stay in contact with the guy as he also has an NBL engine that was a spare and at some point, powered D6332. However our engine, #220, was brand new to either D6316/7, something we hope to resolve in time. We have a very good working relationship with a number of other diesel groups mainly the hydraulic groups, having brought the engine from the Bury Hydraulic Group. We are also in touch with a number of steam groups, all of which are more than happy to provide mutual information and assistance when needed.

D6343 At Park Royal around 1968, original by G.Wareham; painting by Richard Earle, with kind permission of Project 22 – a print of this image is available to investors.

3. You have an interesting range of membership and investment options available, probably wider than any of the steam projects offer – how effective are they each proving? What sort of people are you attracting as members and supporters?
We do indeed have a number of different options, this was an initial start-up system that worked rather well. However, we have since changed the structure and we have now reduced what is available. We learned that the Investor Scheme was somewhat more popular than an annual subscription, and by investor we mean someone who is donating monthly to the project. Our members predominately either remember the class 22, or would like to have seen them, or hydraulic fans in general.

4. It seems like you’ve had to grapple with governance and organisation issues on the project – what sorts of issues did you encounter, and what solutions did you arrive at?
The key issue we have had is within the management committee, a lot of this was down to not understanding fully what was required. However, as time has progressed we have re-assessed the structure and added to the management team, whether it be advisory, or management committee positions filled. We have also had a couple of management members leave us, due to other commitments or just assisting us with their time that they could allocate to us. We are very thankful to anyone who has helped manage the project as it is no easy task. I personally started as the Chairman and was for a number of years. Recently with a structure change the then Business Manager, Richard Benyon stepped up to be the Chairman, this was partly to do with my commitments and also a review of the structure. This meant Richard could move the project forward in the direction it needed to go (on the business side of things). I am now currently the Vice Chairman as I have the knowledge of the whole project. This suits both due to our commitments, and I also assist and direct other Management Committee members with their tasks.

5. What’s on your immediate to-do list just now?
So, to report on the to-do list is a tremendous amount as we’re building a locomotive; the list goes on. However, the current main aspects we’re working on are:

Charity application – we are currently seeking advice from the Heritage Railway Association who will assist us in the application process, we’re hoping this will be in the next couple of weeks. This will be given to the charity commission and go from there.

Engine overhaul – we potentially have the option of sending the engine off for an overhaul at a very reduced price, this will be by a profession body and railway company by trade. 

Drawings – Currently we’re still obtaining drawings from a multiple of suppliers, this is in a constant steam throughout the year. These in turn are having a number of things done to them (1) We are producing 3D CAD files for the drawings, this will enable us to take them direct to a metal merchants and get what we want produced. This was a kind donation to us and the standard of work is very high, whilst the CAD work is taking place the original NBL drawings are re-drawn to remove any bad blemishes in the drawings. Then again whilst the re-drawing takes place our CAD engineer also takes into consideration modern practises of manufacture and is able to identify errors on the original drawing and create a very accurate and precise up to date drawing and CAD file.

The Little Locomotive Company – we are currently working with Steve and Nicki form the LLC on a very accurate and detailed O gauge class 22; this is described as the most detailed Class 22 locomotive going on sale, right down to the drive system being the same as the real locomotive. In return we have been guaranteed a substantial donation towards the project.

Transmission – we’re aware of the location of some 12 Transmissions, we have our sights set on at least one and are actively working on seeking these out. Again, due to the nature of this we can’t really disclose too much, however again we will be happy to update in time.

Galas – we aim to attend one gala this year with the prospect of a second, we have decided to take some time out, so we can concentrate on the business side of things. As much as its nice getting out and about making money, if we don’t have the correct structure then we won’t know where to spend the money on/use it to the best end.

Wheel Pattern – we have had produced as a donation to us a very high-quality wheel pattern for casting, this is ready to go to the foundry and cast our wheels. Although we have no time period who knows what will happen in near time.

There are a few more projects we have starting and are working hard on, however I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise of these, but it would be exceptional what we have in mind, so what this project closely.

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Class 23 ‘Baby Deltic’
Rather than being an organisation seeking a wide base of support, the Baby Deltic project is a set group of people who are completing the work themselves. They obtained the last surviving 9-cylinder Napier engine as fitted to the class from the NRM in 2001, refurbished it and successfully started it in 2008.

Baby Deltic at King’s Cross, with a Cambridge express. Adapted from a photo by Hugh Llewellyn on Flickr, under Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA 2.0 and available for reuse under the same.

The locomotive will be created from 37372, its body shortened, restyled and mounted on class 20 bogies, to recreate the appearance of a Baby Deltic as well as, thanks to the original engine, the sound. The work is underway at Barrow Hill Roundhouse.

Like other locomotives featured here, the Baby Deltic will not be taken onto the main line once complete. This is primarily to protect the engine – it is unique, and if it were to suffer a catastrophic failure it would immediately end the locomotive’s working life. The locomotive will be numbered D5910, as the next in the series from the original ten machines.

The group declined an invitation to complete a Q+A for this article.

37372 pictured in 2011. Photo by Ashley Mace, reproduced under Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA 2.0.