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Western (BR Class 52) Diesel-Hydraulic Locomotives

Picture of D1062 Western Courier

Way back in the mists of time, post-nationalisation of Britain's railways, British Rail was trying out a truly vast range of new diesel and electric locomotive designs. The Western Region (formerly Great Western Railway, or GWR) went their own way as one might expect from the ex-GWR, and instead of electric transmission for their main-line locomotives they chose another system that had worked well on the continent, notably in Germany. Their Warship class locos were to some extent based on the German V200/0 loco and shared that beast's hydraulic transmission. Later, they designed the more powerful Western class loco, their Class 52, based again on a German design, this time the Krauss-Maffei ML3000.

Eventually Western Region was brought into line with the rest of British Rail and switched over to electric transmission main-line locos; and all the diesel-hydraulics (Hymeks, Warships and Westerns) were scrapped apart from a few that were bought by Preservation Societies. One of the preserved Class 52s, D1062 Western Courier, is pictured here.

In those days, while these engines were being withdrawn from service and sent off to the breaker's yard for scrap material, I joined the Western Locomotive Association and bought shares in the locomotives they were able to rescue from the cutter's torch and restore to working order.

The Westerns, like the Warships, were numbered in BR's original diesel serial number system, before the TOPS class-plus-number system took over: Warships were in the D800 range, and the 74 Westerns were numbered from D1000 to D1073, though on TOPS itself the Westerns' new numbering was used—the loco number by itself (e.g. 1023) appeared on the system.The locos themselves never had the new numbering applied to their bodywork either. I am grateful to Steve Harrison for correcting the foregoing TOPS details.

The complete list of Western-class locomotives is given below, taken from information I have gathered from personal sightings and other sources. I am grateful for input from Dave Blake, allowing me to update and correct some of this information.

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Some Specifications:

  • Class: 52
  • Built: Britiah Rail 1961−1964
  • Engine: Maybach 1350 hp × 2 (total of 2700 hp)
  • Transmission: Hydraulic
  • Wheel Arrangement: C-C
  • Design Speed: 90 m.p.h.

In the table below the following codes are used:
  • A and B : Ends of the locomotive. If a detail is for an unknown end, 1 signifies one (unidentified) end
  • H/B : Headboard Bracket. This shows the end(s) on which there was a headboard bracket
  • G : Small Grille (cab vent) on the cab end
  • Owner : WLA means the Western Locomotive Association. Preserved means another Preservation Society.

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Number:Name:Colour:Built at:H/B:G:Note:Scrapped on:Owner:
D1000Western EnterpriseDesert SandSwindonA--11 Feb 1974Scrapped
D1001Western Pathfinder?Swindon1 ?--? ? 19Scrapped
D1002Western Explorer?Swindon1 ?--29 Jan 1974Scrapped
D1003Western Pioneer?Swindon1 ?--6 Jan 1975Scrapped
D1004Western Crusader?Swindon?--1 Aug 1975Scrapped
D1005Western Venturer?Swindon?--? ? 197Scrapped
D1006Western Stalwart?Swindon?-24 Apr 1975Scrapped
D1007Western Talisman?Swindon?--29 Jan 1975Scrapped
D1008Western Harrier?Swindon1 ?--21 Oct 1974Scrapped
D1009Western Invader?SwindonA B--? ? 197Scrapped
D1010Western Campaigner?SwindonA B--? ? 197Preserved
D1011Western Thunderer?SwindonA B--? ? 1975Scrapped
D1012Western Firebrand?Swindon1 ?1 ?-1 Nov 1975Scrapped
D1013Western Ranger?SwindonA B---WLA
D1014Western Leviathan?Swindon?--8 Aug 1974Scrapped
D1015Western ChampionGolden OchreSwindon1 ?-1? ? 197Preserved
D1016Western Gladiator?Swindon?--? Dec 1975Scrapped
D1017Western Warrior?Swindon1 ?--1 Aug 1973Scrapped
D1018Western Buccaneer?Swindon1--4 Jun 1973Scrapped
D1019Western Challenger?Swindon1 ?--6 May 1973Scrapped
D1020Western Hero?Swindon1 ?--4 Jun 1973Scrapped
D1021Western Cavalier?Swindon1 ?--? ? 197?Scrapped
D1022Western Sentinel?Swindon1 ?--? ? 197?Scrapped
D1023Western Fusilier?Swindon1 ?--? ? 197?Preserved
D1024Western Huntsman?Swindon?--17 Nov 1973Scrapped
D1025Western Guardsman?Swindon?--? ? 1975Scrapped
D1026Western Centurion?Swindon?--? ? 1975Scrapped
D1027Western Lancer?Swindon1--1 Nov 1975Scrapped
D1028Western Hussar?Swindon11 ?-? ? 197?Scrapped
D1029Western Legionnaire?Swindon?--8 Jan 1975Scrapped
D1030Western Musketeer?CreweA B--? ? 197?Scrapped
D1031Western Rifleman?Crewe1 ?--3 Feb 1975Scrapped
D1032Western Marksman?Crewe1 ?--6 May 1973Scrapped
D1033Western Trooper?CreweA B--? ? 197?Scrapped
D1034Western Dragoon?Crewe1 ?--? Oct 1975Scrapped
D1035Western Yeoman?Crewe1 ?--6 Jan 1975Scrapped
D1036Western Emperor?Crewe1 ?--? ? 197?Scrapped
D1037Western Empress?Crewe1 ?--? ? 197?Scrapped
D1038Western Sovereign?Crewe?--8 Oct 1973Scrapped
D1039Western King?Crewe?1 ?221 Jul 1974Scrapped
D1040Western Queen?Crewe1--? Feb 1976Scrapped
D1041Western Prince?CreweA B--? ? 197?Preserved
D1042Western Princess?Crewe1 ?--21 Jul 1974Scrapped
D1043Western Duke?Crewe1 ?--? ? 197?Scrapped
D1044Western Duchess?Crewe?--2 Feb 1975Scrapped
D1045Western Viscount?Crewe1 ?-18 Jan 1975Scrapped
D1046Western Marquis?Crewe?--? Dec 1975Scrapped
D1047Western Lord?Crewe1 ?--7 Mar 1976Scrapped
D1048Western Lady?Crewe1 ?--? ? 197?Preserved
D1049Western Monarch?Crewe----? ? 197?Scrapped
D1050Western Ruler?Crewe1 ?--4 Apr 1975Scrapped
D1051Western Ambassador?Crewe1--? ? 197?Scrapped
D1052Western Viceroy?Crewe1 ?--? ? 1975Scrapped
D1053Western Patriarch?CreweA B--? ? 197?Scrapped
D1054Western Governor?Crewe1 ?--? ? 197?Scrapped
D1055Western Advocate?Crewe1 ?--3 Jan 1976Scrapped
D1056Western Sultan?Crewe?A B-? ? 197?Scrapped
D1057Western Chieftain?CreweA B--? ? 197?Scrapped
D1058Western Nobleman?Crewe1 ?--? ? 197?Scrapped
D1059Western Empire?Crewe1 ?--? ? 1975Scrapped
D1060Western Dominion?Crewe?--17 Nov 1973Scrapped
D1061Western Envoy?Crewe1 ?--21 Oct 1974Scrapped
D1062Western Courier?Crewe1 ?--23 Aug 1974WLA
D1063Western Monitor?Crewe1--? ? 197?Scrapped
D1064Western Regent?Crewe?--? Dec 1975Scrapped
D1065Western Consort?Crewe?--? ? 197?Scrapped
D1066Western Prefect?Crewe1 ?--8 Jan 1975Scrapped
D1067Western Druid?Crewe?--? ? 197?Scrapped
D1068Western Reliance?Crewe1 ?--? ? 197?Scrapped
D1069Western Vanguard?Crewe1 ?--? ? 197?Scrapped
D1070Western Gauntlet?CreweA B--? ? 197?Scrapped
D1071Western Renown?Crewe11-? ? 197?Scrapped
D1072Western Glory?Crewe1 ?--? ? 197?Scrapped
D1073Western Bulwark?Crewe1 ?--29 Aug 1974Scrapped


  • 1 Upside-down windscreen wipers
  • 2 Circular windscreen wipers

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Western Ranger

The preserved locomotive D1013 Western Ranger

Western loco side view

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