The English Electric class 55, Deltic Locomotive, 00 models history.

The prototype.

An early train featuring a production Deltic.

The English Electric prototype class 55 Deltic was running by 1955, using two converted Napier marine engines, giving 3000HP. It had a distinctive blue livery and was relatively light in weight. At the time, BR was looking to replace the aging pre-war steam locomotives on the main lines to Scotland. The Deltic took over these duties and ran into the 1980’s.

The engine was triangular in shape hence the “Deltic” name. During testing the prototype suffered catastrophic engine failure. As a result, the 22 production versions had engine and other modifications done to them, before entering service.

The prototype is also the subject of Bachmann’s recent, eye wateringly expensive model, at £400.

The prototype Deltic in Doncaster, 1955. Quite a few schoolboys are taking an interest.

The Kitmaster Deltic Kit.

In the early 1960’s Kitmaster released a kit of the Prototype Deltic. This was undergoing testing in 1958. Later, many of the Kitmaster range were re-boxed by Airfix. The kit is still available from Dapol.

The Hornby Dublo model

The class 55 Deltic locomotive went into service in 1961 and the Hornby Dublo model came out in the same year. The catalogue number was 2232 and it was in the BR green livery with the second logo. This was a remarkably crude model at a time when Hornby was losing out to Tri-ang.

Hornby Dublo 2232 Deltic.

Next, In 1962 “Crepello” was released, also in BR green. Finally, the same year saw the release of “St Paddy” . St Paddy was made for the 3-rail system. additionally, good boxed examples go for around £300. 1964 saw Hornby go into administration with many unsold models still in stock.

The Hornby 2007 / 8 model

For two years Hornby produced The class 55, The duke of Wellington’s regiment in BR green livery. These go for around £50. This locomotive was only issued in the City freight set and the set is fairly scarce on auction sites.

The lima class 55 models

Lima released a number of Class 55 Deltic, named models, starting in 1977. They are also readily available for £30 – £40. Additionally, They are quite good runners and reasonably detailed. “Meld” was released in 1977 and seems to be the most common model, on auction sites.

The Bachman class 55 models

The Bachmann Deltic first appeared in 2002 and it is still in the range. These are less common on auction sites and are much higher priced than the Lima versions, at over £100.

The Bachmann Deltic prototype model

As mentioned earlier there is a special edition model of the Prototype that was made for the National Railway Museum.

There are DC and DCC sound fitted versions. Also, The model is well finished with a striking blue livery. There is good cab detailing and sprung buffers.

The Early Bullied Diesels and their models


By the 1940’s various UK Railway companies were looking at Diesel traction as an alternative to steam. The LMS produced two prototypes just after the war. These were similar to US Locomotives with “noses”. The Southern Railway, under chief mechanical engineer Oliver Bulleid also built three prototype Diesel electric locomotives.

The three Bulleid designed Diesels were built at a rather leisurely pace and did not enter service until the early 50’s. They were numbered 10201 to 10203. The last produced in 1954 had a larger 2000 bhp engine and was used on the Royal Scott, Golden Arrow and Night Ferry in 1955.

Scan from the Ladybird book of British railway locomotives, Pub. 1958

The prototype

Pioneer Southern Railway electric locomotive at Eastleigh Works. At the Works Open Day in August 1964, the second of the SR’s 660 V 1,470hp Class CC Co-Co electric locomotives, No. 20002 built in 1942, is on display.

The D16/5 design owed a lot to Bulleid’s earlier electric locomotives from the 1940’s. Again only three were built. The electrics also survived longer into the BR blue era.

The first two D16’s had 1750 bhp 16SVT engines, by English Electric. This engine had improved considerably in the four years since Bulleid had ordered the design. Consequently no. 10201 entered service in 1951. The units weighed 135 tons and were 63′ long with a 1co – co1 wheel arrangement similar to the class 40’s.

No 10201 in 1951 at Dorchester South station, Note the Southern green coaches. S.C. Townroe/Colourail DE628, from Bulleid locomotives in colour. pub 1993.

The first two locomotives were designed to run as a pair and were fitted with gangway connections. Subsequently the third prototype, with the larger engine, could operate on its own. 10203 was the first locomotive of 2000bhp to run in Britain. The Bulleid influence is evident as they did not feature the characteristic English Electric “noses”.

This series of Prototypes greatly influenced the development of the class 40 and class 37.


BR chose a striking black and silver livery for the early diesels although they later ran in standard green as seen in the Ladybird book above.

Later operation and scrapping.

The three locomotives were withdrawn in 1962 and survived until 1968, sadly none were preserved.

The model

About the only model produced of the D16/2 was by the Kernow Model Centre in 2018. Unusually people are tending to hang on to these as they are very hard to find. The January 2018 edition of Model Rail Reviewed the model. At the time the model cost £169.99.

The Kernow models do occasionally turn up on Vectis auctions at what seems like a low estimate of £80 – £110 for as new.

A smooth and powerful runner, our sample hauled 14 coaches with ease on level track.

Model rail magazine jan. 2018
Model Rail magazine Jan. 2018