Reunion of name and numberplate that collector thought could never happen

IT was a reunion that heritage diesel enthusiast Neil Carter thought would never happen. But now it has, and Neil, who within months will celebrate 40 years’ railway service, couldn’t be more delighted.

Western delight: Class 52 D1009 Western Invader at Gloucester’s Horton Road depot on August 22, 1970. The diesel-hydraulic’s nameplate and cabside numberplate have been reunited 40 years after the letter and numbers were removed by a BR driver, NORMAN PREEDY
Western delight: Class 52 D1009 Western Invader at Gloucester’s Horton Road depot on August 22, 1970. The diesel-hydraulic’s nameplate and cabside numberplate have been reunited 40 years after the letter and numbers were removed by a BR driver, NORMAN PREEDY

In 1994 Neil, a fan of the Western Region Class 52 diesel hydraulics, bought from a friend the nameplate Western Invader that had been carried by D1009. With the plate came the locomotive’s GWR-style cabside numberplate, albeit sadly without its lettering or numbers.

Over the ensuing 22 years Neil, who is 58, often wondered what had happened to the lettering and numbers, but reluctantly came to the conclusion that they were lost forever.

Class 52 fan, Neil Carter, with the Western Invader nameplate and D1009 cabside numberplate, which he has reunited after 40 years. SCOTT LEWIS

Indeed, such was his belief that they were long gone that he recently commissioned a replica set, which he planned to fix to the cabside plate.

Read more in the latest issue of Heritage Railway

LEFT: Class 52 fan, Neil Carter, with the Western Invader nameplate and D1009 cabside numberplate. SCOTT LEWIS

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