Class 40 (English Electric 2,000hp Type C(4) Diesel-Electric)

The Class 40 was one of the early classes of diesel locomotive built by British Railways as part of the Modernisation Plan which would ultimately replace steam traction. It was a direct development of the prototype LMS and SR diesel locomotives of the late 1940s [1] and was the first large diesel locomotive in the Type C (later Type 4) power classification to be delivered [2].

Class 40s served across the rail network being allocated to London Midland, Eastern, North Eastern and Scottish Regions. Initially the class was used on top link expresses though their performance, while adequate on some routes like the West Coast Main Line, was not on other routes and they were replaced by more powerful locomotives on expresses before long.

One drawback with the Class 40 was their weight, at over one hundred and thirty tons, and the long 1Co-Co1 bogies with extra unpowered wheels to carry the bulk and keep it within a reasonable route availability. One Class 40 gained a bit of notoriety early in it's career as it was hauling the train involved in the Great Train Robbery in 1962.

Number built: 200
Built: 1958-62
Builder: English Electric
Motor: English Electric 12CSVT Mk 2 diesel
Power: 2, 000 hp (1, 490 kW)
Wheel arrangement: 1Co-Co1

The popular Class 40, known as the Whistler due to the sound they make, continued to serve BR well, much of the time on freights and secondary passenger duties as newer diesel locomotives like the Class 47 and 50 displaced it from front-rank work. Withdrawals began in the late 1970s and all were withdrawn by 1985. Seven have been preserved but not all currently in running order.
40 106 arrives at Highley

40 118 at Tyseley

40 106 at Kidderminster SVR with a "newer" EE loco!

This side view shows the length and bulk of the Class 40

40 106 at Highley

[1] Brian Haresnape, Early Prototype & Pilot Scheme Diesel-Electrics (Ian Allan, 1981) p. 49
[2] John Glover, BR Diary 1958-1967 (Ian Allan, 1987) p. 9