Bullied Locos scrapped before their time, and at what cost?
Bullied Merchant Navy Pacific locomotives 35015 ‘Rotterdam Lloyd’ and 35002 ‘Union Castle’ were both withdrawn from service with British Railways in early 1964 (possibly the w/e 23rd February). These were the first of the MN Class to be withdrawn, potentially due to them requiring an intermediate overhaul which was deemed too expensive given the impending end of steam some 3 years hence. I find this a strange decision (like so many around this time) given that both locomotives had been re-built less than 6 years earlier; so effectively had many years of service left.
The Modernisation Plan of 1955 seemed to drive every decision thereafter; that, and the accountants struggling to justify spending money on steam locomotives when diesel and electric traction was the ‘future’. Given that the some MN duties were taken over by the Warship locomotives, which themselves were only to last in service for a little over 10 years, highlights the lack of planning that seemed to go on in the implementation of the 1955 Plan.
I’d love to look at the costs of these rebuilds and compare to the new build of diesels to see how close the valuations were. It would also be interesting to look at the day-to-day running costs of steam vs. diesel at this time. If anybody can help with that information or knows where to find then please get in touch.
The BR Standard Class 5 73086 ‘The Green Knight’ lasted another two years after this photograph was taken, but this meant that it only spent 11 years in service itself. The ironic thing is that this locomotive was built after the release of the Modernisation Plan by British Railways in 1955!
The Nine Elms website
In tracking down the location and date of the photograph, I came across a fantastic website dedicated to Nine Elms Shed. A brilliant archive of memories about the railwaymen and operation of the shed. Give it a visit, you won’t be disappointed!