sulzers at hither green
Hither Green

As the Modernisation Plan was put into effect a number of unforseen happenings caused minor interruptions to the planned rollout of the scheme. One of these bumps in the road affected the timetable for the dieselisation of the eastern section of the Southern Region.

To temporarily resolve this problem the London Midland Region loaned sixteen 1,160hp BR/Sulzer Type 2's to Hither Green between January 1959 & November 1962. The majority of these locomotives had been delivered new to Crewe South (5B), then loaned to Derby (17A) and then transferred to Hither Green (73C). Many were virtually ex-works when received by the Southern Region. The locomotives transferred were D5000 - D5014 & D5017.

They were transferred to Hither Green between late January 1959 and July 1959.

Although virtually brand new and in full working order the loaned locomotives brought with them an issue of major concern to the SR Civil Engineer - they were about five tons overweight when fully fuelled and watered. Thus early in February D5004/05 visited Eastleigh Works for an investigation about how to reduce their weight. The action taken was to remove the train heating boiler and the associated water tank from some of the locomotives. This divided the locomotives into two distinct groups, those with their boilers removed (D5002 - D5006), and those still as built (D5000/01/07-14/17). Despite the alterations there were still restrictions affecting the locomotives. 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 on to 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.

Most are recorded as having used the Midland mainline to reach the capital on their way south, D5003/05 travelled this way on January 24th 1959, 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.

During March the Type 2s continued driver training, in the process of which D5003 failed on March 4th 1959 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 in Kent during the first week of March 1959.

Freight workings using the Type 2s included the 3.05pm Hoo Junction - Hither Green freight, noted in April 1959 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 to take part in the British Transport Commission Performance & Efficiency Tests for the type - the results were published by the BTC in December 1960, Bulletin No.21. D5017 was reallocated to Hither Green to make good the loss of 'borrowed ' D5008.

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. The Type 2's were also used on the lengthy van trains, carrying mail and newspapers to various points in Kent & Sussex.

The Kent Coast electrification in its first phase 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 EMUs 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 2s. The second phase of the electrification program, including the Sevenoaks - Ramsgate & Dover via Ashford routes would be completed during June 1961. As much as possible the SR authorities used the diesels to replace steam on the non-electrified passenger workings. The summer Margate - Birkenhead had been in the hands of the Type 2s 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.

November 14th 1959 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.

December 17th 1959 saw delivery of the first of the BRCW Type 3s, D6500 to Hither Green. The fifteen LMR Type 2s on loan to the SR had averaged about 39,250 miles through the end of 1959.


On January 11th 1960 a damaged D5014 was noted for repair at Derby Works having sustained injury somewhere on the Southern Region. Also returning to the LMR temporarily were a number of the loaned SR Type 2s, ironically to have their boilers and water tanks refitted.

Early March found D6500 & D6501 testing in the Kent area, they were so noted at Tonbridge on March 4th 1960 with a ten coach empty coaching stock train.

On the SR the Type 2s were finally allowed onto the Sheerness branch following the opening of the new Kingsferry bridge. With this route now open to diesels and with the assistance of steam from Hoo Junction & Tonbridge it was possible to close Gillingham shed effective June 13th 1960.

Possibly the first visit of an LMR Type 2 to Eastleigh Works for repair was D5007 during April 1960, previously the machines had visited Derby for overhaul.

The evening mail trains on the South Eastern Division were regularly hauled by Type 2s, during December 1960 they featured in an unusual push-pull maneuver in the Redhill area. Amongst trains affected were the 11.50pm London Bridge Deal and the 9.28pm Margate Cannon Street, both running via Redhill. Engineering works required use of the Quarry Line, necessitating the use of a steam locomotive on the Earlswood Redhill section to draw the train backwards. On December 9th this move featured D5000 on the Deal and D5002 on the Margate. The SR civil engineer had recently permitted the use of the BR/Sulzer Type 2s over Blackfriars Bridge & Coldharbour Lane Bridge, this would allow use of these machines on cross London freights from Finsbury Park, replacing the J50s. D5094 had visited Hither Green & Feltham whilst on loan to Finsbury Park from March.


The steam hauled freight workings on the Allhallows branch came to an end on February 4th with the Derby Type 2s & BRCW Type 3s taking over. Typical of the winter duties for the SR Type 2s was the use of D6538 & D5003 on February 26ths down Golden Arrow.

With the Kent Coast electrification now fully complete the loaned LMR Type 2s were venturing elsewhere including D5006 reaching Ferme Park on a cross London freight on June 21st 1961.

On August 9th 1961 Eastleigh Works hosted its annual Open Day, modern traction represented by D3667 & E5008 whilst D5008/09 were under repair in the main workshops.

A somewhat strange innovation implemented by Eastleigh Works was the use of ex-works diesels on the Southampton Waterloo boat trains, a risky venture as the out shopped locomotives ran alone. D5000 worked the 10.05am Venus boat train on October 27th, but on reaching Brookwood an electrical fault failed the locomotive, necessitating the use of 30765 for the remainder of the journey to Waterloo. D5000 spent several days enjoying the delights of Brookwood yard before being towed back to Eastleigh. Somewhat more successful was the testing of D5017 on November 3rds 10.35pm Old Dock - Waterloo, though time was lost on this trip.

A football match between Dartford & Bristol on November 25th 1961 saw two eleven coach specials run. The second one ran with D5013 & D6573 as far as Kensington where steam locomotive 6960 took over. More interestingly the first ran with D5009 & D6523 throughout, making the journey via Clapham Jcn, Salisbury, Westbury and Bath.


The SR was now accepting its final deliveries of BRCW Type 3s, and receiving the first of its electro-diesels and new DEMUs for the Oxted line. These additions allowed for the gradual return of the loaned LMR Type 2s, with many visiting Eastleigh Works for overhaul prior to heading north. Previous practice had been to test them on the Boat trains to London, however failures on these services were of a high profile, leading to the current batch of machines being trialled on freights instead. So tested on January 25th 1962 was D5011 on the 11pm freight to Nine Elms. By early March D5003/06 would be back on the LMR working out of Rugby.

Almost a year after the interesting sortie by D5009 & D6523 working a football special to Bristol, November 3rd 1962 saw D6570 & D5007 (the last LMR Type 2 to be allocated to the SR) take a twelve coach football special from Dartford to Yeovil Junction. The train ran via the Dartford Loop, Nunhead, Factory Junction, Clapham Junction, East Putney & Wimbledon. Steam locomotives 76018, 31619 & 9732 were used on the short leg from Yeovil Junction to Yeovil Town and return. On the outward run a race ensued on the four track mainline between Winchfield and Hook with the special challenging the 9.30am Waterloo - Bournemouth headed by 34064. Regrettably a permanent way slowing cut short the spirited running for 34064.

During November 1962 the last of the Type 2s returned from the Southern Region, with D5007 being reallocated to Willesden (1A). They were still common visitors south of the Thames, one consistent trip worked was a morning parcels from Willesden to East Croydon.

Photograph from publicity material featuring the Sulzer 6LDA28 engine25297 at Willesden depot on December 22nd 1979.

D5095 heads an inter-regional freight across Blackfriars Bridge.

Allocation details for the Class 24's allocated to the Southern Region.
Several locomotives were briefly reallocated away from the Southern Region, then quickly returned to the Southern Region. Depot numbers in brackets show the receiving depot when allocated away from the Southern Region.
5000 1/59 - 6/62 (1A) 6/62 - 7/62 (1A)
5001 2/59 - 6/62 (1A) then 6/62 - 7/62 (1A)
5002 1/59 - 5/62 (5B)
5003 1/59 - 4/60 (5B) 5/60 - 3/62 (1A)
5004 1/59 - 1/60 (5B) 3/60 - 6/62 (1A) 6/62 - 9/62 (1A)
5005 1/59 - 6/60 (5B) 8/60 - 5/62 (5B)
5006 1/59 - 3/60 (5B) 4/60 - 3/62 (5B)
5007 3/59 - 6/62 (1A) 6/62 - 11/62 (1A)
5008 3/59 - 5/59 (5B) 1/60 - 7/62 (1B)
5009 3/59 - 5/62 (5B)
5010 4/59 - 5/62 (5B)
5011 4/59 - 5/62 (5B)
5012 4/59 - 5/62 (5B)
5013 4/59 - 6/62 (2A) 6/62 - 7/62 (2A)
5014 5/59 - 6/62 (2A) 6/62 - 6/62 (2A)
5016 4/60 - 12/65 (1E)
5017 7/59 - 5/62 (5B)
5018 4/60 - 12/65 (1E)


In the third quarter of 1964 six LMR Class 25's were loaned to Hither Green for a brief period. The locomotives involved were 5240, 5241, 5243, 5244, 5245 & 5247. They were transferred to Hither Green in the four week period ending October 3rd 1964, and returned to the LMR in the four week period ending December 26th 1964. The Southern Region locomotive allocation for December 20th 1964 did not include the loaned LMR Type 2's, so they must have been transferred prior to this date.

Page added March 31st 2011

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