British Rail Class 12
15224 at Spa Valley Railway, Tunbridge Wells West depot 31 July 2011
This was the second batch of Southern Railway shunters based on the English Electric 6KT 350 hp (260 kW) diesel engine. The first experimental batch (BR numbers 15201–15203) were designed by Richard Maunsell of the SR in 1937 and were later classified D3/12. These locomotives were Oliver Bulleid's development of Maunsell's original design, but were significantly lighter. They featured Bulleid's distinctive BFB wheels, and incorporated a number of details from the diesel-electric shunters produced by the London Midland and Scottish Railway 1936–39. They were built at the BR Ashford Works over the period 1949–1952 and numbered 15211–15236. They later became Class 12, but no locomotives survived long enough to acquire Class 12 TOPS numbers.
The diesel engine is an English Electric 6-cylinder, 4-stroke, 6KT and the traction motors are two EE506 axle-hung, nose-suspended, force-ventilated traction motors with 17.5:1 double reduction gear drive. The main generator is an EE type EE801/7D, flange-mounted single bearing rated at 490 kW.
The locomotives were designed for use in the two south London marshalling yards at Norwood Junction and Hither Green, and remained there for much of their working lives. Later some examples were used as works shunters at Ashford, Brighton and Eastleigh.
Withdrawal and Preservation
The entire class was withdrawn between 1968 and 1971 and most were cut up for scrap soon afterwards. However, three were sold for industrial use with two of those locomotives being scrapped later on. One, 15222, had been used as a generator by a quarry in South Wales having been acquired from the Newport scrapyard of John Cashmore Ltd. A second, 15231, was sold by BR to Tilling Construction at Grassington. The third, 15224, was sold by BR to the National Coal Board for use in the Kent Coalfield. After use at Betteshanger and Snowdown collieries, it passed into preservation in 1982. It is now the only surviving locomotive of the class, and is now operational and located at the Spa Valley Railway, Royal Tunbridge Wells.
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- Marsden, Colin (1981). The diesel shunter: a pictorial record. Oxford: Oxford Publishing Company. ISBN 0-86093-108-0.
- Strickland, David C. (September 1983). Locomotive Directory. Camberley, Surrey: Diesel and Electric Group. ISBN 0-906375-10-X.
- McManus, Michael. Ultimate Allocations, British Railways Locomotives 1948 - 1968. Wirral: Michael McManus.