British Rail Class 43 (Warship Class)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For later 125-mile-per-hour railway locomotives called Class 43, see British Rail Class 43 (HST).
British Rail Class 43
D852 - old oak common - 1964.jpg
D852 'Tenacious' at Old Oak Common in 1964
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-hydraulic
Builder North British Locomotive Co.
Serial number 27962–27994
Build date 1960–1962
Total produced 33
UIC class B'B'
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Wheel diameter 3 ft 3 12 in (1.003 m) new
Minimum curve 4.5 chains (91 m)
Wheelbase bogie 10 feet 6 inches (3.20 m)
bogie center distance 37 ft 9 in (11.51 m)
total 48 ft 3 in (14.71 m)
Length 60 ft 0 in (18.29 m)
Width 8 ft 10 in (2.69 m)
Height 12 ft 9 12 in (3.90 m)
Loco weight 79.50 long tons (80.78 t; 89.04 short tons)
Fuel capacity 800 imp gal (3,600 l; 960 US gal)
Prime mover MAN L12V 18/21, 2 per locomotive
Engine type V12 four stroke diesel
Cylinders 12
Cylinder size 180 mm × 210 mm (7.087 in × 8.268 in) (bore x stroke)
Transmission Hydraulic, Voith/NBL LT.306r
MU working White Diamond[1]
Train heating Steam, 940 imp gal (4,300 l; 1,130 US gal) capacity
Loco brake Vacuum controlled air, hand brake [clarification needed] (?)
Train brakes Vacuum
Performance figures
Maximum speed 80 mph (130 km/h)
Power output Engines: 1,100 bhp (820 kW) × 2
Tractive effort Maximum: 49,030 lbf (218 kN)[2]
Operators British Railways
Numbers D833–D865
Nicknames "Warship"
Axle load class Route availability 7 (RA 6 from 1969)[3]
Retired 1969–1971
Technical details : B.R.33003/91[4] except where noted

The British Rail Class 43 diesel-hydraulic locomotives were built by the North British Locomotive Company (NBL) from 1960–1962.


The D800 series diesel-hydraulic 'Warship Class', of B-B wheel arrangement, was constructed by two different builders. Those locomotives built by British Railways at Swindon Works were originally numbered D800-D832 and D866-D870. They were allocated Class 42 under the 1968 classification system, while those built by the North British Locomotive Company (NBL) were originally numbered D833-D865 and allocated Class 43. Because of their early withdrawal dates, neither the Swindon- nor the NBL-built locomotives carried TOPS numbers. More detail on factors common to both types can be found in the article on the Swindon-built British Rail Class 42.

Mechanical details[edit]

The NBL-built D800s differed mechanically from the Swindon-built batch: the Swindon locomotives used Maybach engines connected to Mekydro hydraulic transmissions whereas the NBL-built examples used MAN engines and Voith transmissions. NBL had entered into an arrangement with the German company MAN AG in the early 1950s to market MAN's engine designs in the UK: NBL were anxious to enter the diesel locomotive market, especially once it became apparent that British Railways would be seeking large quantities of such locomotives when the "Modernisation Plan" was announced. MAN were equally keen to obtain a slice of the UK market for themselves. The first results of this collaboration were the D600-D604 locomotives which failed to take advantage of the weight-saving potential of light alloy stressed-skin construction allied to hydraulic transmissions.

D861 'Vigilant' at Tilehurst in 1962

No further examples of this design were ordered but NBL then received an order for 33 locomotives to a more advanced design, the D800 design drawn up by Swindon Works in turn derived from the original German Krauss-Maffei V200 design. The prime mechanical components of these were two MAN L12V18/21B diesel engines, each rated at 1,100 hp (820 kW) at 1530 rpm and coupled to a Voith LT306r hydraulic transmission; each engine/transmission combination drove one bogie. Unlike the Mekydro four-speed transmissions in the Swindon-built locomotives, the Voith was only a three-speed design but was chosen because it kept compatibility with D600-4 and because NBL already had a licence to manufacture it. Whereas the Swindon-built locomotives had all their engines and transmissions supplied by the German manufacturers (albeit with ten engines and three transmissions supplied as kits of parts for the British licensee to re-assemble) the engines and transmissions required for D833-65 were all built by NBL.


D836 'Powerful' hauling a Paddington-Bristol express in 1962

In operational service, the NBL locomotives were less reliable than their Swindon-built cousins. Mild steel was used for the exhaust manifolds and these components were prone to fracture. Not only did this result in a loss of exhaust pressure to drive the turbochargers but also the driving cabs rapidly filled with exhaust fumes. The MAN-built engines used in the German DB class V 200 design had nickel-resist steel manifolds and were far less troublesome. The engine design also suffered from being quite highly rated for a design with no active piston cooling and piston ring life expectancy was decreased as a result. One MAN L12V18/21B was sent to the British Internal Combustion Engine Research Association for various tests and potential modifications to improve the deficiencies but nothing ever came of this. Further problems arose because of the conversion from metric to imperial feet and inches when the MAN drawings were received by NBL. It is almost certain that rounding errors in these conversions resulted in poor tolerances and lowered reliability in practice. Despite all this, figures for 1965 show the North British Warships covered a far greater annual mileage than contemporary Type 4's such as the Westerns, Peaks and Brush Type 4.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 25 August 1962, locomotive No. D833 Panther was hauling a passenger train that came to a halt at Torquay, Devon due to defects on the locomotive. Another passenger train overran signals and was in a rear-end collision. Twenty-three people were injured.[5]
  • On 11 January 1967 Locomotive No. 864 Zambesi at St Annes Bristol was light engine on the up line that came into contact with the destroyed rear coach of an accident on the down line where the diverted 12:00 Paddington to Swansea had just collided with the rear of the 11:45 Paddington to Bristol. Only very minor damage was sustained by No. 864 which came into glancing contact with the splayed out body panels of the last coach of the Bristol train.[6][7]
  • On 27 September 1967, locomotive No. D853 Thruster was hauling the 09:45 Paddington to Weston super Mare passenger train that travelled too fast on the relief line through Foxhall Junction, Didcot, and derailed causing 1 death and 23 injuries. The Derailment was caused by the train driver driving at excessive speed through the crossover.[8]


The NBL-built D800s were withdrawn before their Class 42 sisters, themselves doomed to a short life because of the decision to standardise on diesel-electric transmission for mainline locomotives. None have survived into preservation. They were allocated to Bristol Bath Road, Laira Plymouth, Newton Abbot and Old Oak Common.

Class details[edit]

Running number Name Date to traffic Date withdrawn Notes
D833 Panther 6 July 1960 3 October 1971 Built by NBL, date of order 3 July 1958, maker's order no. L100, Swindon lot no. 443
Cut up 5 February 1972 at Swindon
D834 Pathfinder 26 July 1960 3 October 1971 Cut up 18 February 1972 at Swindon
D835 Pegasus 5 August 1960 3 October 1971 Cut up 11 December 1971 at Swindon
D836 Powerful 13 September 1960 22 May 1971 Cut up 10 March 1972 at Swindon
D837 Ramillies 8 November 1960 22 May 1971 Cut up 23 June 1972 at Swindon
D838 Rapid 3 October 1960 27 March 1971 Cut up 29 July 1972 at Swindon
D839 Relentless 12 November 1960 3 October 1971 Cut up 4 August 1972 at Swindon
D840 Resistance 3 February 1961 26 April 1969 Cut up 26 May 1971 at Swindon
D841 Roebuck 14 December 1960 3 October 1971 Cut up 25 February 1972 at Swindon
D842 Royal Oak 20 December 1960 3 October 1971 Cut up 17 March 1972 at Swindon
D843 Sharpshooter 2 January 1961 22 May 1971 Cut up 21 April 1972 at Swindon
D844 Spartan 16 March 1961 3 October 1971 Cut up 26 May 1972 at Swindon
D845 Sprightly 7 April 1961 3 October 1971 Cut up 19 May 1972 at Swindon
D846 Steadfast 12 April 1961 22 May 1971 Cut up 24 December 1971 at Swindon
D847 Strongbow 22 April 1961 27 March 1971 Cut up 17 March 1972 at Swindon
D848 Sultan 27 April 1961 26 March 1969 Cut up 26 May 1971 at Swindon
D849 Superb 29 May 1961 22 May 1971 Cut up 7 July 1972 at Swindon
D850 Swift 8 June 1961 22 May 1971 Cut up 3 March 1972 at Swindon
D851 Temeraire 10 July 1961 22 May 1971 Cut up 9 June 1972 at Swindon
D852 Tenacious 24 July 1961 3 October 1971 Cut up 2 June 1972 at Swindon
D853 Thruster 30 August 1961 3 October 1971 Cut up 16 June 1972 at Swindon
D854 Tiger 26 September 1961 3 October 1971 Cut up 5 May 1972 at Swindon
D855 Triumph 25 October 1961 3 October 1971 Cut up 28 April 1972 at Swindon
D856 Trojan 16 November 1961 22 May 1971 Cut up 7 January 1972 at Swindon
D857 Undaunted 11 December 1961 3 October 1971 Last NBL-built D8xx to be withdrawn; Undaunted was simply switched off in full working order.
Cut up 28 April 1972 at Swindon
D858 Valorous 15 December 1961 3 October 1971 Cut up 9 June 1972 at Swindon
D859 Vanquisher 9 January 1962 27 March 1971 Cut up 30 June 1972 at Swindon
D860 Victorious 22 January 1962 27 March 1971 Cut up 4 December 1971 at Swindon
D861 Vigilant 14 February 1962 3 October 1971 Cut up 29 July 1972 at Swindon
D862 Viking 13 March 1962 3 October 1971 Cut up 12 May 1972 at Swindon
D863 Warrior 7 April 1962 26 March 1969 Cut up at J Cashmore Ltd, Newport
D864 Zambesi 10 May 1962 27 March 1971 Was to have been named Zealous
Cut up 19 November 1971 at Swindon
D865 Zealous 28 June 1962 22 May 1971 Was to have been named Zenith
Cut up 9 June 1972 at Swindon



  • Earnshaw, Alan (1993). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 8. Penryn: Atlantic Books. ISBN 0-906899-52-4. 
  • Haresnape, Brian (September 1983) [1982]. British Rail Fleet Survey 2: Western Region Diesel-Hydraulics. Shepperton: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-1122-2. CX/0983. 
  • British Railways Locomotives and Other Motive Power: Combined volume. Hersham: Ian Allan. January 2008 [1964]. ISBN 978-0-7110-3315-3. 0801/B. 
  • Marsden, Colin J (February–April 1986). "The Warships". Modern Railways Pictorial Profile. Weybridge: Ian Allan Ltd (12): 10. ISSN 0264-3642. 
  • Strickland, D.C. (March 1983). D+EG Locomotive Directory. Camberley: Diesel & Electric Group. ISBN 0-906375-10-X. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]