Recognition and Equipment information
CLASS 17




Ordered as a successor to the pilot scheme Type 1s, were this fleet of centre cab locos which were probably the least successful of any type. Not only was this in respect of having a central cab, whereby the driver had to look over a bonnet in either direction, but the power units, which for the bulk of the fleet were Paxman 6ZHXL units, gave dubious performance. Electrical equipment was provided by Clayton for the first 88 locos and Crompton Parkinson for the rest .
After the design and order became public in 1961, considerable Trade Union pressure was placed on the BTC after they had suggested that the new design would assist with eliminating the need for two men in the cab. Whilst most agreed that all-round visibility was good, the Union were not going to agree to staff cuts, claiming that the secondman would be required for shunting operations and safety.
The initial order was for 88 locomotives, all for use in Scotland and with this in mind most were fitted with single-line token exchange equipment. During late 1961 a second order for 29 locos was placed, giving a total of 117 on order at the end of 1961, running numbers allocated were D8500-D8616. Construction of the first order was awarded to the Clayton Equipment Co from where the first loco emerged in September 1962, being handed over to the BTC at Marylebone. After a short period major technical problems were identified, mainly involving the power units; this included cylinder head defects, crankshaft movement, and oil contamination. In an attempt to overcome engine problems the final two of the initial build were fitted with Rolls Royce power units, and whilst these
proved more successful, the type was not adopted for further application. The second batch of 29 locos was constructed by Beyer Peacock of Gorton, with delivery commencing in March 1964, continuing until April 1965. Ironically the BP built locos proved far more successful, but did not return a reliability figure satisfactory to the BTC who in subsequent years had to invest considerable finance in modification work.
The 'Claytons' as the fleet was known were given the classification 17 under the BR numerical system. Most of their work was performed either north of the border or in the North East where reliability figures were around 60%. With this in mind BR invested in further BR (EE) Type 1s (Class 20). The 'Claytons' being gradually phased out of service during the late 1960s with the final examples being withdrawn in 1971.
After withdrawal one member of the class saw industrial use, No. D8568, and this is now preserved by the Diesel Traction Group. Two others, Nos. D8521 and D8598 passed to the Research Department at Derby where No. D8521 was modified as a mobile power plant and No. D8598 deployed as power on a variety of test trains in the Midlands. Regrettably both were disposed of for scrap in 1978.
When constructed the locos emerged in green livery with small yellow warning ends; these were later enlarged to fill the full nose end. After the adoption of BR blue as the standard livery many examples were outshopped in this style, again retaining the full yellow end.






The 'Clayton' Type 1s had a very elegant body style and it is perhaps a pity that technical performance let them down. With one prime mover housed under each bonnet and a large central cab, No. D8501 is seen painted in two-tone green when brand new. Note the token exchange equipment space on the cab side forward of the BR logo. CJM Collection.