Early British Railways Diesel Locomotives

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In the 1970s, Britain’s railways finally put an end to the transmission war in the design of motive power, with the withdrawal or the Class 52 “Western” series diesel hydraulic locomotives.

The “transmission war” – electric versus hydraulic – was precipitated by British Railways in 1955 with the introduction of the ‘Modernisation and Re-equipment Programme,”

It was, however, not so much a war, as the GWR asserting its individuality once again, for it was only on the Western Region of British Railways that diesel locomotives with hydraulic transmission systems were extensively used in main line service.

At the lime, no standard design of locomotive could be introduced, since there had been relatively little previous experience on which to base future designs of locomotive.

Early British Railways Diesel Locomotives

First published in NW Evening Mail, Friday April 15th 1977

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