Class 42 (BR Swindon Type 4 2,200hp Diesel-Hydraulic)

With electrification a distant dream (indeed still yet to be fully realised in 2018) British Rail's Western Region turned to Continental style light weight diesel-hydraulic locomotives with fast-running engines in the 1950s to replace steam. The Class 42 was a licence-built version of German Federal Railway's V200 locomotive [1], modified to fit within the smaller British loading gauge. Two batches of locomotive were built, the Swindon built Maybach powered Class 42 and the North British Locomotives built MAN powered Class 43.

Number built: 38
Built: 1958-61
Builder: BR Swindon
Engine: 2 Bristol Siddeley Maybach MD650 diesels
Power: 2, 200 hp (1, 641 kW)
Wheel arrangement: B-B

The Class 42 was powered by two Maybach diesels built under licence by Bristol Siddeley. The first few locomotives were limited to 2,000hp due to limitations with the transmission though most of the class was rated at 2,200hp. One locomotive was fitted with a pair of Paxman 12YJXL diesels and was rated at 2,400hp. The Class 42 looked very similar to the V200 class though originally British Railways wanted it to look different, their designs were later used on the Class 52 [2].

The locomotives had a successful entry into service, Western Region found they could comfortably handle heavier trains than the Class 40. However there were problems with riding at high speeds which resulted in speed restrictions until bogie modifications could be carried out in 1960 [3]. Most of the class were named after Royal Navy ships and hence the nickname of the class became "Warships".

As with the other diesel-hydraulic designs the Class 42 was doomed once British Rail, in it's drive for standardisation and rationalisation, had sufficient diesel-electric motive power to take over their duties. Withdrawals began in 1968 and were completed by 1972 [4]. Two Class 42s have been preserved.
D832 Onslaught at Wirksworth

D821 at Bridgnorth, SVR

818 in BR blue (KD Collection)

D832 at Duffield

D821 cab

D832 brings a train into Wirksworth
[1] John Jennison & Tony Sheffield, Diesel Hydraulics of the 1960s and 1970s (Ian Allan, 2014) p. 4
[2] David Lawrence, British Rail Designed 1948-97 (Ian Allan, 2016) p. 107
[3] Brian Haresnape, Western Region Diesel-Hydraulics (Ian Allan, 1982) p. 28
[4] Pip Dunn, British Rail Main Line Locomotive Specification Guide (Crowood Press, 2013) p. 80