Recognition and Equipment information
CLASS 55




Following the success of the twin-engined 'Deltic' prototype, tested on BR during the 1950s, the British Transport Commission (BTC) ordered a fleet of 22 production models of a similar design. These were to replace steam traction from the East Coast Main Line. The number series allocated was originally D1000-D1021, but was amended to D9000-D9021, and numerical classification the fleet became Class 55.
The order for the 22 'Deltic' locos was placed with English Electric in March 1958, construction was sub-contracted to Vulcan Foundry in Newton-le-Willows where the first loco started to take shape in early 1960. By spring 1961 the erecting shop at Vulcan was almost full of 'Deltic' shells, with no fewer than 12 under construction at one time. The first two locos were completed in January 1961; No. D9001 was the first to be delivered to Doncaster Works for testing, the pioneer loco, No. D9000, remaining at Vulcan for testing. The 22 strong fleets were delivered over a period of 15 months, being allocated to the Eastern, North Eastern and Scottish Regions. Their duties were mainly confined to King's Cross-North East and Anglo-Scottish passenger services. Once in service their performance was excellent, with speeds of 100mph being possible. One drawback with the fleet was that no loco-train corridor connection was provided, so the previously non-stop London-Scotland expresses now had to be revised for a crew change en route.
After introduction the BTC agreed to name the entire fleet. Locos allocated to the Eastern Region were named after racehorses while the North Eastern and Scottish allocations were named after regiments.
Each loco was fitted with two Napier D18.25 'Deltic' engines, giving a total output of 3,300hp; electrical equipment was by English Electric. When built the fleet were fitted with vacuum brake and steam heating equipment, these fitments later being updated to provide dual (vacuum/air) braking and steam/electric heating.
For their entire lives, until ousted by the introduction of IC125s, the 'Deltics' worked crack ECML expresses, as well as some Trans-Pennine services in their later years. Performance was always excellent, but maintenance costs were very high with frequent visits to Doncaster Works being necessary for power unit attention.
Following introduction of HSTs on the ECML it was decided to withdraw the entire fleet; the first casualties were Nos. 55001 and 55020 in January 1980; with the remainder following by January 1982. Several of the class have been preserved, No. 55002 (D9002) by the National Railway Museum and five others by private societies. By the end of 2001 three of the preserved fleet had returned to main-line condition, being authorised to operate on Railtrack metals.
When constructed, the entire fleet was finished in two tone green, yellow warning panels being added in the early 1960s, and some locomotives operating with full yellow ends on green livery. BR corporate blue was applied from late 1967. In the locomotives' later years the 4-character route indicator boxes were plated over and sealed beam marker-lights installed. In 1999 No. D9016, owned by the Deltic 9000 Fund, was restored to main-line condition at Brush where modern head and marker lights were fitted; at the same time the locomotive was repainted in the mauve and white livery of its financial sponsor Porterbrook Leasing.



Preserved No. D9009, shows the 1960s BR two-tone green livery, offset by white window surrounds and small yellow panel nose end. This loco, now authorised for Railtrack operation has a high-intensity headlight, an item not fitted in BR days. No. D9009 is seen at York on a charter train. CJM.



Class 55 ‘Deltic’ front end detail. A-warning horns (2), B-red tail marker lights (2), C-headlight, D-ETS jumper cable, E-ETS jumper socket, F-brake pipe, G-main reservoir pipe, H-steam heating pipe, I-coupling hook and shackle, J-vacuum pipe. Front end of No. D9000 illustrated. Equipment positions have been altered on No. D9016 following a refurbishment by Brush Traction. This loco has its ETS jumper cable nose mounted, some others in preservation have the equipment buffer beam mounted. CJM.



Many Deltic enthusiasts turned their faces away from D9016 when it emerged from Brush Loughborough in 1999 painted in full Porterbrook mauve livery with the Porterbrook name. During the refurbishment work as a partnership by owners Deltic 9000 Ltd and Porterbrook, new Group Standard head, marker and tail light clusters were fitted above each buffer. No. 9016 is seen at Brush. After this picture was taken, when the loco was returned to the main line a serious fire developed in the power unit and by the end of 2001 the loco remained out of service dumped at Crewe. CJM.