Diesel on the march as steam takes a back seat

If the diesel brigade wants to reinforce its message that the new order is on the march, it need look no further than Talisman Railwayana’s May 12 auction at Templecombe. The message will be nearly 4ft long and 10in wide, made in aluminium, look distinctly unsteam-like, and carry the name Implacable.

You’ve got it – it’s a nameplate from a diesel. An English Electric Class 50 in fact, that started life in October 1968 as D439, became No. 50039 under the TOPS renumbering system, was named in June 1978, and withdrawn in June 1989.

The nameplate from the 2700bhp Co-Co locomotive, named after a Second World War Royal Navy aircraft carrier that saw service from 1944 to 1954, went under the hammer for a class record £14,000. And just to add to the schadenfreude of the diesel enthusiasts, that five-figure realisation was nearly double that of the highest steam locomotive nameplate prices.

Read more in Issue 243 of HR – on sale now!

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