It was exactly 40 years ago to the day – 26th February 1977, when the final BR service hauled by Western diesel hydraulics was run.
From that day on, their distinctive sound would only be heard via preserved examples of the class, and sound recordings.
This is my small tribute to the loco class on the anniversary.
A uid member of the class rounds the corner by Langstone Rock, between Dawlish Warren and the sea, with a Motorail service late in the summer of 1968.
This photo is (C) Dawlish Warren Transport Museum, and shows D1061 ‘Western Envoy’ together at Paddington with Hymek D7015 in spring 1963.
Another uid maroon example heads away from Teignmouth station in the late 1960s.
D1010 ‘Western Campaigner’ arrives at St Austell station with a lengthy passenger train on 20th April 1974.
D1054 ‘Western Governer’ has ended its journey, from the west, at platform 9 in Paddington station in 1973.
On 2nd August 1976 D1071 ‘Western Renown’ shares a quiet afternoon at St Blazey depot with 25227.
A view from the west end of Paignton station in the early 1970s.
D1052 ‘Western Viceroy’ stands at Stratford On Avon station on 29th March 1975.
D1023 ‘Western Fusilier’ moves around Westbury station in the early 1970s.
D1015 ‘Western Champion’ is ready to leave Paddington with a service for the Midlands.
On a very wet 18th October 1976 (in fact I am surprised this shot came out at all) D1048 ‘Western Lady’ heads for the west end of Plymouth station, in order to take over a service for Penzance.
D1072 ‘Western Glory’ arrives at Reading on 14th August 1976.
Finally; about a dozen people have gatherd by the railings in Slough station car park to witness D1013 ‘Western Ranger’ and D1023 ‘Western Fusilier’ head the final train west 40 years ago.
D1010 and D1048 preceded this train by about 10 minutes as standby locos in case of failures, but because I had no idea of this, they took me completely by surprise and I have no photo of them.
12 hours later and it would all be over.