Tuesday, June 23, 2020

A snapshot of forgotten post-war railway history

Embed from Getty Images 

Browsing railway photographs on GettyImages, as you do, I came across this. Taken at Bristol Temple Meads in May 1952, it shows a locomotive with a remarkable history.

British Rail 18100 was a prototype gas turbine-electric locomotive commissioned by the Great Western Railway in the 1940s but not delivered until 1951. It spent its working life hauling express passenger services on BR's Western Region.

In 1958 it was withdrawn from service to be converted into an electric locomotive, numbered E1000 (E2001 from 1959), and was then used for testing and staff training in connection with the electrification of the West Coast main line.

It was put into store at the end of 1961, but lasted until November 1972 when it was cut up for scrap.


Tom Barney said...

See Kevin Robertson's 'The Great Western Railway Gas Turbines: a myth exposed' - don't be put off by the melodramatic title, and it is worth persevering with the author's ropey syntax.

Jonathan Calder said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Tom.

Steve Comer said...

The name on the Loco is significant in the light of the Colston statue incident a couple of weeks ago, it refers to the Society of Merchant Venturers. They were the people who put up the statue 170 years after Colston died and about 65 years after the abolition of slavery!

Jonathan Calder said...

Thanks for pointing our the relevance of the name, Steve, but it is the name of the service rather than of the locomotive. It was a special service introduced in connection with the Festival of Britain.