Although history isn't the main purpose of this site, it seems a reasonable place to have a few details about the original locos.
As yet there is only one photo of the original locos on this site for the simple reason that we don't have any other (copyright free) ones to use - if you have any that you would be prepared to let us use, preferably ones that have not been used on other websites, then please e-mail them to us via the link to the left.
In the meantime, there are some lovely pictures on the Napier Chronicles website, see the links page.
Ten type 'B' locos were ordered from English Electric under the pilot scheme for main line diesel locos as part of the BR modernisation plan of 1955. They were broadly similar in appearance to the type 'C' locos (later Class 40) ordered at the same time, although much shorter.
The locos were powered by a 9-cylinder Napier Deltic engine of type T9-29 rated at 1,100 hp at 1,600 rpm and were mounted on two-axle bogies giving a Bo-Bo wheel arrangement. With the exception of the engine the mechanical parts were entirely standard save for the addition of trip-cock apparatus for use when on the Metropolitan 'Widened Lines' to Moorgate.
Deliveries commenced in Spring 1959 to Hornsey Depot, via Doncaster Works for commissioning, the locos transferring to Finsbury Park on its completion in 1960. In reality they spent a considerable time at Hitchin Depot.
In their original guise the locos could never have been referred to as a success, all of them being stored by 15 June 1963 prior to a refurbishment programme which was completed by 15 April 1965. The refurbished locos were a considerable improvement on the original design and were also tidied up aesthetically - with centre headcode boxes and two-tone green livery they bore a strong resemblance to the type 5 locos (Class 55) and now really were 'Baby' Deltics.
By mid-1968 their non-standard status got the better of them and they fell victim to the BR Standardisation Plan, the first loco being withdrawn in October. The remainder followed fairly quickly with the last one, D5909 being withdrawn in March 1971. D5901 found some further use with BR's Research Department where it provided motive power for the Tribometer train until late-1975. It was replaced by a Class 24 in 1975 and moved to Doncaster Work in early-1976 where it was cut up in March 1977.
Below: D5900 brand new at Hornsey depot. (T Greaves)