During January production commenced on the first components for D5000/1 with the setting up of various jigs under order D658, by April four frames and bodies were almost complete, though power units were not present. These locomotives were being built alongside Class 08's D3506 - 3519. By the middle of May D5000 was almost complete with D5001 - D5006 in various stages of production. Even at this early stage, without any yet released to traffic, a request had come from the Southern Region to 'borrow' the first nine prior to the delivery of their BRCW Type 3s (Class 33s).
On April 18th English Electric Type 4 No.D200 handled its first passenger working, the 10.27 Liverppol Street - Norwich, with a schedule under two hours. Also on display was D201. With the delivery of brand new BR/Sulzer Type 2s to East Anglia, the Classes 24 & 40 would become a familiar sight on the Great Eastern lines.
As Derby Works closed for its annual summer holidays on July 11th, D5000 was in the paint shop, with work still progressing only as far as D5006. After release from Derby a trip was made on July 24th with D5000 running to Marylebone for inspection by Sir Brian Robertson. During August D5000 was officially allocated to Crewe South (5B). Also coming onto the roster of the LMR at this time was the second of the MetroVicks, D5701, allocated to Derby (17A); NBL shunters D2907 & 2908, Crewe Built Class 08s D3575 - 3577. The WR received new shunters D3594 - 3596 and Crewe built Class 9Fs 92233 - 92235. The ER accepted Type 4s D208 & 209, Type 2s D5516 & 5517, D5301, Type 1s D8405 - 8409 and shunters D2025 - 2027, D3619 - 3624 & D3684 - 3686 and Swindon built 9F 92197. The Scottish Region received shunters D3538 - 3545 & D2728.
One of the Eastern Region Brush Type 2s was sent to Scotland during July for a short series of trials. remarkably on July 26th D5511 worked the nine coach down 'Waverley' between Carlisle & Edinburgh over the Waverley route. The Brush Type 2 would eventually travel to Inverness for further tests.
On September 15th test trains were initiated for the Type 2's being released from Derby Works. An afternoon round trip Derby - Millers Dale with one coach was the easier of the two diagrams. The second, a morning departure from Chaddesden carriage sidings used a rake of fifteen coaches (460 tons), outward via Cheadle Jct & Allerton Jct to Liverpool Downhill sidings, returning after lunch, over the same route to Chaddesden.
Additionally on September 15th D5000 started working the 9.38 Derby - Manchester, 12.30pm Manchester - Liverpool Central, returning with the 2.30 Liverpool Central - Derby, requiring a run round at Manchester.
By mid October frames had been cut upto D5010 whilst Type 4's D1 - 3 were also in production. D5001 officially entered service towards the end of October, allocated to Crewe South (5B), but immediately loaned to Derby (17A).
December 1958 saw the continued deliveries of the Type 2's from Derby Works with 5002/03 loaned to Derby (17A) from their original allocation of Crewe South(5B). Contemporary reports of the period do not reveal much of the happenings of these new machines, the overwhelming events happening to the steam fleet and the railway network in general seemed to draw the attention of those reported sources. December 14th saw Crewe steam its 7,331st and last steam locomotive, 9F 92250, there would be a special ceremony the next day. Over at Derby Works withdrawal had arrived for the unique 4-8-4 Fell locomotive 10100.
The New Year opened with the continuing delivery of Type 2s from Derby, D5005/06 being the first arrivals for 1959, again allocated to Crewe South but then immediately transferred to Derby. Even this move was of a brief nature as a call came from the Southern Region to borrow power to cover a delay in the delivery of the BRCW Type 3's. The first of these would not arrive until January 1960, the BRCW production line at Smethwick currently working on the Type 2's (D5300 - 5346) for the ER & ScR. Thus early in January the existing fleet of Derby's Type 2's (D5000 - 5006) were allocated to Hither Green (73C).
D5003/05 made their way south via the Midland mainline on January 24th, with D5006 following six days later. Upon arrival on the Southern Region D5000/01 were used for crew training in the Ashford - Ramsgate - Dover - Faversham area. It was by this time well known that these locomotives were about five tons over weight. This was nothing unusual, the BRCW Type 2's were about three tons over weight as were the original NBL 6300's when fully fuelled and watered. Thus early in February D5004/05 visited Eastleigh Works for an investigation on means to reduce their weight, an item of major concern to the SR Civil Engineer. During March the Type 2's continued driver training, in the process of which D5003 failed on March 4th near Faversham, being assisted to the shed by the following two coach instruction train. Investigation by a fitter the next day found an electrical circuit had been closed accidentally, resetting the switch brought the engine back to life. The two machines sent to Eastleigh were both noted about Kent in the first week of March.
Also during January the frames were laid for the first mainline diesel locomotives to be built at Crewe, commencing with D5030, the first of a batch of thirty six, all destined for the Eastern Region. No exact construction price is known but it is believed this batch cost about GBP80,000. The Crewe built machines featured minor design differences to the water tanks and sand boxes.
One of those workings recorded by correspondents was the frequent use of the Type 2s on the 2.30pm Liverpool Central - Nottingham, D5007 being so noted on February 10th. Previous reference to the new diesels being overweight led to the SR/ER authorities banning the BRCW Type 2's from working inter-regional freights to the SR via the Widened Lines and Snow Hill. In light of this consideration was given to moving these Hornsey based Type 2's (D5300 - 5319) to the Scottish Region, and now with a further thirty seven BR/Sulzer Type 2's just ordered (D5114 - 5150), of which nineteen were for the ScR, the groundwork was laid for the 'Sulzer' invasion of the Highlands.
Although the BR/Sulzer Types 2s would never see service on the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway (M & GN) the fate of this line deserves mention as being typical of the closure of duplicitous and poorly patronised routes during this era. Closed from February 28th this east - west route ran from Yarmouth Beach to Saxby with a line diverging at Sutton Bridge to reach Peterborough North. This was a considerable length of railway to close, showing indisputable evidence of the increasing growth of the motor car and long distance coach services. Approximately twenty steam locomotives were displaced by this closure. This route saw a number of inter-regional services from Yarmouth Beach, two such being to Birmingham & Nottingham. Two other routes which had been recently reviewed for closure, both in rural areas and of considerable length were the Penrith - Workington line and the scenic but remote Barnard Castle - Tebay/Penrith line. Clearly the writing was on the wall and this long before Dr Beeching had written his report.
On a more positive note beginning March 16th a new container service commenced between Hendon & Glasgow, 'The Condor' offering overnight service between the two cities, being routed via Carlisle, Settle and Leeds. Diagrammed for this run were pairs of the Metropolitan Vickers Type 2's (D5700 - 5719). Departure for the up trains was at 7.35pm (SO)/ 7.50pm (FSX) arriving Hendon at 5.40am, the down service left Hendon at 7.23pm arriving 5.15am. The first up Condor ran with D5710 & 5708. During their daylight layover in Glasgow they occasionally worked the local Gourock passenger services, D5711 was so noted on the 8.23am to Gourock on March 13th. The Bridgeton - Stirling freight and return coal from Plean to Shieldhall was also used as a fill in turn. For those laying over on the weekend the Friday 10.20pm sleeper to Carlisle and 7.15am return were common as was the Saturday 5.30pm St Enoch - Carlisle, D5710 & 5709 noted on this working on April 18th. The other principal duty for the MetroVick's was the Manchester - London passenger, again usually doubleheaded.
The loaned Southern Region' Type 2s now numbered fifteen but had been subdivided into two distinct groups, those with their boilers removed (D5002 - 5006), and those still as built (D5000/01/07-14). On the Eastern section all were banned between Tonbridge and Bo Peep Junction, Middle Junction to Sheerness on Sea and from the Tilmanstone & Tenderten branches. The heavier machines were also banned from the Allhallows, Grain, Hawkhurst and Westerham branches. Oddly all were allowed down the steeply graded Folkestone Harbour branch. On the Central section the only restrictions applied to the heavier machines, banned between Three Bridges and East Grinstead and onto Ashurst Junction and the Heathfield line. The Cranleigh, Kemp Town, Lavant & Steyning branches were also off limits. On the Western Section all were banned from the Bodmin North, Barnstaple & Ilfracombe, Callington, Halwill, Hayling Island, Lyme Regis and Torrington branches. Double heading of these machines, with themselves or other engines was not permitted except on short trips. Freight workings using the Type 2s included the 3.05pm Hoo Junction - Hither Green freight, noted in April were D5005 (6th), D5009 (7th), D5010 (8th), D5000 (9th) and D5005 (10th). The next day D5005 worked the 1.32am Dartford - Hoo freight returning with the 3.10am to Hither Green. At the end of April D5008 returned to Derby for a series of tests, D5017 replaced it on the SR. Static and running tests were carried out on Toton - Leicester - Rugby - Market Harborough - Derby - Toton and Toton - Derby - Chesterfield - Chapel en le Frith - Peak Forest - Ambergate - Butterly - Toton circuits. A total of 4,200 miles were run with a train of coaching stock and dynamometer car totaling 560 tons.
A number of changes were taking place within the design, principally to reduce the locomotive weight. This batch saw the Stone Vapor OK4616A boiler replaced by the new standard "B" variant, additionally the use of lighter materials reduced the weight to 78.7 tons. By D5044 the OK4616B boiler was replaced by the model L4610 capable of a steam rate of 1,000lb/hr. This boiler would become the standard for all further Class 24/25 orders The water tanks were reduced to 450 gallons giving a loco weight of 77 tons. The use of the separate differential exciter had received mixed reviews leading to an experiment with D5022. Here the exciter was eliminated, the control field of the main generator being fed direct from the auxiliary generator through the load regulator. This then became the norm from D5050, allowing further weight saving. From D5011 onwards the Athermos plain bearing, pressure lubricated axle boxes were replaced by SKF roller bearing equipped axles boxes.
On April 21st the first of big Type 4s, D1 'Scafell Pike', emerged from Derby Works. This travelled upto London for inspection before returning to Derby three days later. The 21st was not a good day for the Midland mainline, the down 'Master Cutler' was 47 minutes late at Leicester, the 6.33pm ex St Pancras suffered a failure with 73010 running hot at Kettering. Replacement proved to be 92125 placed ahead of the pilot 40504! The next day the ongoing shortage of power was eased with the arrival of Royal Scot 46122/58 and Patriot 45530 with more promised.
As anticipated as more mainline & shunting locomotives and multiple units were brought into service, so the withdrawal of the steam fleet would accelerate. Logically the older and most inefficient steam locomotives would succumb first in the withdrawal process, but surprisingly some very modern steam locomotives would be withdrawn. During March 94XX 0-6-0T No.8417 was withdrawn after only nine years service.
With Darlington completing a run of Class 08's during April with D3705, resources were now given to the construction of twenty Type 2s (D5094 - 5113), the first two would be destined for the Eastern Region (GE), the remainder going to Gateshead. These Type 2s would be mired in a trade dispute, considerably delaying their construction.
May brought further adventures for the 'SR' Type 2s, being frequently used on freights on the Kent Coast line. So noted on May 5th was D5012 working the 6.14am Faversham - Dover Priory, the 8.17am return, followed by a round trip to Whitstable, before becoming the Faversham station pilot for the remainder of the day. That first week of May also found new Sulzers on the ScR, with BRCW Type 2s D5320 - D5322, these were intended for service improvements on the Edinburgh - Aberdeen line, but were initially working various freights in the Edinburgh area. A week later the first of the Derby built St Pancras - Bedford suburban four-car DMU's arrived at Cricklewood, being promptly used for crew training.
The summer timetable found the Type 2s on a new working between Crewe and Birmingham. They took over the 7.35pm Holyhead - Birmingham at Crewe, returning with the following morning's 6.30am all stations Birmingham - Crewe. So noted were D5015/16 and D5015/30. The first pair mentioned were involved in working June 9th's 8.00am Birmingham - Newcastle between Derby and York, returning on the 12.43pm Newcastle - Bristol as far as Derby. This diesel working was from June 9th - 13th with a load of nine coaches, time lost was quickly made up. The mention of D5030 suggests it was probably on a testing run, the first of Crewe's Type 2s to be outshopped, awaiting official movement to its first shed, March (31B). On July 27th the 8.15am Newcastle - Cardiff arrived at New Street with D5709 piloting 73069, the diesel came off here and is believed to have returned to Derby on the 9.14am Paignton - Sheffield. Two days later D5016 worked the 8.25pm Crewe - Birmingham New Street, D5015 was noted on the working on August 5th.
A British Transport Commission report about the reappraisal of the Modernisation Plan for the next five years focused on a more compact system and economic savings. A route mileage reduction of 10% between 1959 - 1963 was envisaged, although no main line closures were scheduled in this period, however electrification of the Crewe - Carlisle route would hopefully lead to diversion of traffic off the Settle & Carlisle, with closure of the route north of Hellifield. Multiple civil engineering projects were planned to removal bottlenecks and increase capacity on routes with heavy volumes. Colour light signaled mileage will have increased from 1,700 track miles to 3,600 track miles by the end of 1963. Steam locomotives would see a reduction of 6,000 to 11,500. Passenger vehicles would be reduced by 7,000 to 35,000, freight wagons by 250,000 to 750,000, locomotive repair shops from twenty two to twelve. A reshuffling of resources for electrification projects would see the WCML London - Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester routes completed earlier than scheduled, but at the expense of delays to the ECML main line scheme.
By 1963 it was expected to have 2,300 diesels in service, with the aim to replace steam on an area by area basis. 22 Deltic locomotives would replace 55 steam locomotives between Kings Cross - Newcastle/Edinburgh, 20 diesels would replace 48 steam locomotives between Newcastle & Edinburgh, 115 diesls would replace 245 steam engines in the West of England, 160 diesels would replace 300 steam engines in the Bristol area by late 1961. 250 diesels would be working on the St Pancras - Leeds & Manchester lines and the Leeds - Bristol line. 350 diesels on the NER would replace 700 steam engines by 1963. By 1960 75 locomotive & 40 multiple units would handle services on the Highland and Great North of Scotland lines. During 1961 services from Glasgow to Aberdeen, Mallaig & Oban would be handled by 140 diesel locomotives, whilst in 1962 services between Carlisle & Edinburgh and services in south-west Scotland & Fife would be operated by 200 locomotives and 75 multiple units. The 2,400 diesel multiple units on hand at the end of 1958 would be increased to 4,000 by the end of 1963. The fleet of shunting engines would have transitioned from steam to diesel by 1963.
The Kent Coast electrification saw its first through (8am) Victoria - Ramsgate electric train (& return) on June 2nd with E5004 hauling nine coaches, E5003 brought up the 3.10pm from Victoria whilst E5004 handled the 8pm to Dover Marine and return. June 3rd saw EMU's 7138/41/42 haul the first Cannon St - Ramsgate service. Full electric service commenced on June 15th, sounding the death knell for steam in this area, the freights being in the hands of the Type 2s and the straight electrics. From this time the Civil Engineer permitted the use of double heading of the Type 2s, with D5007/10 noted on June 20th hauling the 3.42 pm relief Victoria - Folkestone Harbour, whilst the next day they handled the 5.25am Dover - Victoria and 9.24am return relief. Likewise on July 3rd D5001/09 were noted on an educational excursion routed via the East Putney line bound for the SE Division. Similar educational excursions were run during July to Southampton & Portsmouth, via Eastleigh, again using pairs of Type 2's. The summer Margate - Birkenhead had been in the hands of the Type 2's from June 15th, working as far as Redhill, noted on the first four days were D5001/02/05/04. On the heavier Saturday working double heading was frequent. The users of Bromley South station encountered double jeopardy at this time, having to deal with the revised timetable and a complete renumbering of the station platforms!
The August bank holiday weekend saw a considerable use of Type 2s (both the BR/Sulzer & Metro Vick types) out of St Pancras, being common on Derby & Nottingham services, frequently doubleheaded. Cricklewood's new DMU's were also in use, running as reliefs in eight coach formations. As the week continued the number of pairings eased off, on August 29th the 8.45am Manchester - St Pancras had D5706 with eleven coaches, similarly noted was D5018 on an up eleven coach relief on September 12th, three days later the same machine was piloting the up 'Palatine' with 44855 on nine coaches. The annual Horticultural/Flower show (open day!) at Derby on August 29th found new diesels D2, D3782 & D5021 on display alongside Britannia 70004 & 9F 92165.
On September 14th service cuts were made to the Great Central route. Further cuts were due in the New Year (January 3rd 1960), Marylebone's long distance workings would be reduced to three each way going no further than Nottingham Victoria whilst the outlook for Leicester Central shed looked very bleak.
From September 28th Cricklewood's new DMU's were rostered for one train in each direction, the 12.30pm down and 3.05pm up, a week later four other trips were added, all still in the off peak hours and using the existing steam schedules. On the longer distance Manchester services the Type 2's were now joined by Derby's Type 4s, D1 - 4, although failures were somewhat frequent. Back at Derby Works frames were being laid for D5066, the first of the next batch (D5066 - 5075), destined for the ER.
High winds plagued the east of England during the last week of October, on 27th D5020 was struck by a falling tree whilst on the East Suffolk lines. Four days later SR EMU 7111 derailed at Dover, the lead coach hitting the tunnel brickwork. D5005 was used to bring a crane to the site to assist with the clean up.
The winter timetable commencing November 2nd found D5015/16/18/19 taking over some of the local workings out of Euston. D5017 was still on loan to the SR having covered for D5008 which had been at Toton earlier in the year for tests, though by November 4th D5008 had reached Willesden for empty coaching stock duties, working alongside Type 1's D8035 - 8038. November 14th found D5013 working a Margate - Kettering football special throughout, whilst D5010 took another football special from Ashford to Brentford. At about 2.45am on November 10th whilst hauling a coal train from Snowdon Colliery D5000 lost control of its train at Faversham. The train ran through a sand drag, demolished the buffer stops, with the locomotive completely derailed and fouling the main line. The impact severely damaged a short length of the up main line, causing single line working to accommodate the morning rush hour. The engineers then obtained complete possession, having D5000 rerailed by late afternoon, with all lines open by late in the evening. Engines in attendance were 31874 & 31583 with two cranes. November 16th found the new 'Blue Pullman' six coach diesel Pullman being tested between Leicester & Luton.
In Scotland the BRCW Type 2s gained a regular working to Inverness on the 8.06am Perth - Inverness freight, returning with the next day's 9.20am Class C freight, then a round trip to Blair Atholl, then back to Leith Central for servicing. A return freight to Wick was also included in the duties of those machines reaching Inverness. These machines were soon to be joined by Hornsey's Type 2's (D5300 - 5319) and the NBL's (D6100 - 6109), following commencement of delivery of thirty Brush Type 2's, beginning with D5563/64 at Wood Green on November 14th.
December 17th saw delivery of the first of the BRCW Type 3's, D6500 to Hither Green. The fifteen LMR Type 2s (D5000-003/005-14/17) on loan to the SR had averaged about 39,250 miles annually.
Late in December D5033 was noted on passenger duties on the Liverpool St - Cambridge services. Its initial trial was not a success, on 28th it only reached Bethnal Green on the 5.57pm to Cambridge before failing, after much delay K1 62040 took out the train.