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The three locomotives were withdrawn in 1962 and survived until 1968, sadly none were preserved.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