British Rail Class 97/6

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British Rail class 97/6
Rail-97651-amoswolfe.jpg
Locomotive 97651 at Pitsford and Brampton station on the Northampton & Lamport Railway. Subsequently moved to the Strathspey Railway.
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder Ruston & Hornsby
Serial number 312990, 431758–431761
Build date 1953 (650), 1959 (651-654)
Total produced 5
Specifications
Configuration:
 • Whyte 0-6-0
 • UIC C
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Wheel diameter 97650: 3 ft 2 12 in (0.978 m)
97651-97654: 3 ft 4 in (1.016 m)
Length 24 ft 8 12 in (7.53 m)
Width 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m)
Height 11 ft 0 in (3.35 m)
Loco weight 97650: 28 long tons (28 t; 31 short tons)
97651-97654: 30 long tons (30 t)
Prime mover Ruston 6VPHL
RPM range 1,250 rpm (max)
Generator BTH RTB6034
Traction motors BTH RTA5041 (nose-suspended), 1 off
Loco brake Straight air
Train brakes 97650: none, later vacuum
97651–97654: vacuum
Performance figures
Maximum speed 20 mph (32 km/h)
Power output 165 hp (123 kW)
Tractive effort 17,000 lbf (75.6 kN)
Career
Operators British Railways’ Western Region Chief Civil Engineer's department
Numbers PWM 650–654 later 97650–97654
Axle load class RA 1
Disposition 3 preserved, 2 scrapped

The British Rail Class 97/6 0-6-0 diesel shunting locomotives were purpose-built for departmental duties by Ruston & Hornsby at Lincoln in 1953 (97650) or 1959 (97651-654). There are minor technical differences between 97650 and the 1959 batch.

This class of five locomotives is outwardly similar to the Class 04 locomotives built around the same time but, internally, they are quite different. The Class 97/6 is diesel-electric while the Class 04 is diesel-mechanical.

Overview[edit]

The fleet was originally numbered PWM650-654 in the Western Region Permanent Way Machines series, but were renumbered into the Class 97 series between 1979-1981. Locomotives were original painted in BR Green livery, which was later superseded by BR Blue and finally Civil Engineering Yellow liveries. They were employed at various locations, including Reading West (97650/653/654), Gloucester / Cardiff Canton / Radyr (97651) and Plymouth Laira (97652).

Specification[edit]

  • Diesel engine: Ruston 6VPH of 165 bhp (123 kW) at 1,250 rpm
  • Transmission: Electric,
  • Driving wheel diameter,
    • 97650: 3 ft 2½in (978 mm)
    • 97651-654: 3 ft 4in (1,016 mm)
  • Weight,
    • 97650: 28 tons (29 tonnes)
    • 97651-654: 30 tons (31 tonnes)
  • Maximum tractive effort: 17,000 lb (75 kN)
  • Maximum speed: 20 mph (32 km/h)
  • Brake type: Straight air on locomotive, automatic vacuum for train

A special feature of this class is that the electric traction motor can be disengaged from the wheels. This allows the locomotive to be hauled by another locomotive at speeds above 20 mph.

Withdrawal[edit]

With the privatisation of British Rail these locomotives were largely made redundant. Three locomotives had already been withdrawn from traffic, and only nos. 97651 and 97654 survived long enough to pass into English Welsh & Scottish (EWS) ownership. Number 97654 was sold to an infrastructure company based in Edinburgh, and remained in use until 2005, when it was preserved. Number 97651 was one of the first locomotives sold by EWS into preservation.

Preservation[edit]

Three of the five locomotives have been preserved on heritage railways.

Incomplete remains of 97653 were stored at the former Ministry of Defence depot at Long Marston, Warwickshire until taken to Hurst's, Andover for scrap in August 2011.[1]

Fleet details[edit]

Key: Preserved Scrapped


Number(s) Built Final livery Withdrawn Disposal Notes
97650 PWM650 1953 BR Blue 1987 Preserved
97651 PWM651 1959 CE Yellow 1996 Preserved - Swindon and Cricklade Railway
97652 PWM652 1959 CE Yellow 1987 Scrapped (1990)
97653 PWM653 1959 CE Yellow 1993 Scrapped (2011)
97654 PWM654 1959 CE Yellow 2005 Preserved

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • Ian Allan ABC of British Railways Locomotives, winter 1962/3 edition, page 238
  • Locomotive Datafile, page 99, published 1988 by Metro Enterprises, ISBN 0-947773-10-X

External links[edit]