British Rail Class 44

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Derby Type 4
British Rail Class 44
BR Class 44 Peak diesel locomotive D8.jpg
Preserved Class 44 number D8 at Darley Dale, on Peak Rail
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder British RailwaysDerby Works
Build date 1959–1960
Total produced 10
 • Whyte 1Co-Co1
 • UIC (1'Co)(Co1')
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Wheel diameter 3 ft 9 in (1.143 m)
Minimum curve 5 chains (100 m)
Wheelbase 59 ft 8 in (18.19 m)
Length 67 ft 11 in (20.70 m)
Width 8 ft 10 12 in (2.71 m)
Height 12 ft 10 in (3.91 m)
Loco weight 133 long tons (135 t; 149 short tons)
Fuel capacity 840 imp gal (3,800 l; 1,010 US gal)
Prime mover Sulzer 12LDA28-A
Engine type Diesel
Generator Crompton Parkinson GC426-A1
Traction motors Six Crompton Parkinson C171-B1
MU working Blue Star
Train heating Steam
Train brakes Vacuum
Performance figures
Maximum speed 75 mph (121 km/h)
Power output Engine: 2,300 bhp (1,715 kW)
At rail: 1,800 hp (1,342 kW)
Tractive effort Maximum: 50,000 lbf (222 kN)
Brakeforce 63 long tons-force (628 kN)
Operators British Railways
Numbers D1–D10; later 44001–44010
Nicknames ‘Peak’
Axle load class Route availability 7
Withdrawn 1976-1980
Disposition Two preserved, remainder scrapped

The British Rail Class 44 or Sulzer Type 4 diesel locomotives were built by British Railways' Derby Works between 1959 and 1960. They were named after British mountains, and consequently nicknamed Peaks.


In part inspired by LMS prototypes 10000 and 10001, and by Southern Railway 10201-10203, the Class 44 diesels were some of the first big diesels commissioned for the British Rail modernisation project and were the precursors to the Class 45 and Class 46 locomotives of similar design.


A Sulzer 12LDA28-A diesel engine drove a Crompton Parkinson GC426-A1 main generator which supplied power to six Crompton Parkinson C171-B1 traction motors.[1]

Train heating[edit]

When initially put into service the locomotives were fitted with multi-unit working and steam heating boilers for passenger service. They worked regularly over the West Coast Main Line for a couple of years, also between St.Pancras and Manchester.

Freight service[edit]

44001 "Scafell Pike" heads a coal train south on the Midland Main Line, south of Loughborough, July 1975.

Once the Class 45 units were available the steam heating boilers were removed and the Class 44 locomotives were assigned to freight duties, largely in the East Midlands where they were all based at Toton, where they stayed until 1980.

Fleet details[edit]

Numbers Name Withdrawn Disposal details
D1 44001 Scafell Pike 10/1976 Scrapped at BREL Derby Works (02/1977)
D2 44002 Helvellyn 02/1979 Scrapped at BREL Derby Works (10/1979)
D3 44003 Skiddaw 07/1976 Scrapped at BREL Derby Works (08/1976)
D4 44004 Great Gable 11/1980 Preserved at Midland Railway – Butterley
D5 44005 Cross Fell 04/1978 Scrapped at BREL Derby Works (11/1978)
D6 44006 Whernside 01/1977 Scrapped at BREL Derby Works (02/1978)
D7 44007 Ingleborough 11/1980 Scrapped at BREL Derby Works (11/1981)
D8 44008 Penyghent 11/1980 Preserved at Peak Rail Matlock Derbyshire
D9 44009 Snowdon 03/1979 Scrapped at BREL Derby Works (07/1980)
D10 44010 Tryfan 05/1977 Scrapped at BREL Derby Works (07/1978)


Two locomotives have survived to preservation.

(Current in bold)
Name Livery Location Image Notes
D4 44004 Great Gable BR Green Midland Railway - Butterley 44004 Cardiff.jpg Owning group Peak Locomotive Company
D8 44008 Penyghent BR Green Peak Rail Class 44 loco.jpg Privately owned


  1. ^ "class 44, D1, 44001, scafell pike, BR Sulzer Type 4". Retrieved 2012-07-24. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Harris, Roger (1985). The Allocation History of BR Diesels and Electrics. (2nd ed.). Bromsgrove: Roger Harris. 
  • McManus, Michael. Ultimate Allocations, British Railways Locomotives 1948 - 1968. Wirral. Michael McManus. 
  • Jacob, Michael (October 1982). "Water, water everywhere...". Rail Enthusiast. EMAP National Publications. pp. 28–31. ISSN 0262-561X. OCLC 49957965. 
  • Kerry, Mike (November 1986). "Spectacular Stuff!". Rail Enthusiast. No. 62. EMAP National Publications. pp. 36–39. ISSN 0262-561X. OCLC 49957965.