English Electric Type 4 (later BR Class 50) diesel locomotives
Page updated on: 02/03/18
On the web
Class 50 Alliance Limited owns and operates locomotives 50007 'Hercules', 50035 ‘Ark Royal’, 50044 ‘Exeter’ and 50049 ‘Defiance’. It also operates 50031 ‘Hood’ on behalf of 50031 Consortium Limited and 50033 'Glorious' on loan from Tyseley. Locomotives are based at Kidderminster, except 50007 does not currently have a running agreement with the SVR and is nominally based at Washwood Heath (although it has been at the SVR since January 2017). Work on 50033 will continue at Tyseley "for the time being."
Shareholders in the Class 50 Alliance are automatically members of The Fifty Fund, the supporters’ organisation. It raises funds for the locomotives and operates the 'share purchase by instalment scheme'.
The Fund has a very active ‘Closed Group’ Facebook page with details of work parties and work taking place. With their agreement, this page will include information from some of the SVR related posts.
March 2nd 2018
Recent news: 50007 has joined 50049 on Rail Operations Group route learning duties.
Rail Operations Group (ROG): 'Beast from the East? ROG keeping the railway open.'
"The recent weather has brought issues to all of us, but never to shy away from a challenge, and working with our partners The Class 50 Alliance ROG continues to strive to serve the railway community. Utilsing our otherwise redundant road learning loco 50049 [fitted with snow ploughs], ROG has been busy keeping the Midland Mainline open. 50049 travelled much of the Midland Main Line in the small hours of March 2nd. ROG will continue to be on duty with 50049 and possibly another loco until the 'Beast' is finally defeated."
Meanwhile 50035, 37688 [also fitted with snow ploughs] and 33108 have been working on the SVR on line patrols, keeping the line open through the snow for the weekend. A big thank you to all involved.
February 22nd 2018
On February 18th 50049 moved to Derby.
Rail Operations Group (ROG): 'TOC Support for coming engineering works'
With planned engineering works often leading to diversion of passenger services, ROGs TOC support expertise have been engaged by a large TOC [Crosscountry] to help prepare them for the diversion of many services through the East Midlands. Always looking for innovative solutions, Rail Operations Group has teamed up with the Class 50 Alliance to supply a locomotive for up to 10 weeks of route learning for drivers from several depots affected by the improvement works. Head of Rail services Jason Hall said, ‘ROG will always find a way to assist our industry partners, and the temporary deployment of this locomotive further demonstrates that ethos’.
February 11th 2018
Class 50 Alliance Limited have taken 50033 'Glorious' on loan from Tyseley. Work on 50033 will continue at Tyseley "for the time being" and it is intended the loco will attend the Class 50 Golden Jubilee event at the SVR on October 4th to 6th 2018. Read more on the loan on the Fifty Fund website.
The Golden Jubilee event intends to have ten Class 50 locomotives in operation, see more on the SVR events webpage. In addtion to the six locomotives operated by the Class 50 Alliance, on 24 January 2018 50026 Indomitable arrived for commercial repairs in the Diesel Depot. It is intended it too will attend the Jubilee event.
You can enjoy a double-headed Class 50 tour with 50007 and 50049. Pathfinder Tours' 'The Cumbrian Hoovers' tour on April 14th 2018 over the Settle & Carlisle and Cumbrian Coast Lines.
October 9th 2017
On October 7th GB Railfreight were delighted to operate “The Caledonian” in association with Pathfinder Railtours, Riviera Trains and The Railway Magazine who were raising money for the Railway Children.Star attraction on this train was the return of British Rail Class 50 locomotives to Glasgow, recreating a regular scene from the 70s.Locomotives 50007 and 50049 were provided by The Fifty Fund and were on impeccable form, a credit to the group that look after them.
GB Railfreight Facebook
September 17th 2017
The Pathfinder tour was a success, with early late running recovered by a storming run, Cogload Junction being passed at 101 m.p.h. Two images from Anthony Middleton added but you will see many more!
September 11th 2017
On Saturday September 16th four of the fleet in service on the same day, showing the commitment and resources of the Fifty Fund and its volunteers. 50049 and SVR-visitor 50007 will haul Pathfinder Tours' 'Torbay and Dart Explorer' on the leg from Worcester to Dartmouth and return. Meanwhile, 50031 will work the 09.30 off Kidderminster arriving back at 12.53 and 50035 the 13.15 departure.
August 30th 2017
Overload Interlock Relay replacement on 50007 took place on August 27th, prior to the trip to Old Oak Common Open Day. Two photos added, the first photo shows an empty space after the incorrect unit was removed. On the second photo top unit is correct relay with two coils and bottom one is the incorrect with no reset coil. The unit taken out would have, under fault/overload conditions, just kept resetting itself unit a motor or generator caused itself damage.
August 15th 2017
The Fifty Fund volunteers are still hugely busy. On 50007 a pooping sound started on B side of the engine. What was thought to be a stuck exhaust valve appeared on closer inspection to be water seeping from the fuel pump cover on B5 which, when removed, drained. The drain bolt has three holes in it and all were blocked, so had filled with rain water from a hole in the roof and caused the fuel plunger to seize. When freed and cleaned out the popping noise ceased. In addition, a new Rad Fan system has been installed and tested. A number of test runs are being run.
A sticking BMR relay on 50049 which caused the diverts not to work was also fixed. 49 has been on diesel turn and 50035 on the Driver Experience.
A reminder that the Pathfinder Tours' 'Torbay and Dart Explorer' will run on September 16th from Burton-on-Trent to Dartmouth with 50007 and 50049 from Worcester and return.
(Fifty Fund Facebook - various contributors).
July 26th 2017
Brand new batteries for 50007 being prepared today for installation in the loco. All 48 cells lifted into the battery boxes, making sure they are all in the right way round. Then a start made on attaching the connectors between cells.
July 1st - Class 50 Alliance – Mainline Tour Postponed.
Following the test run of 50007 and 50049 to the WSR, a number of issues were identified with both locomotives which would require rectification prior to any further Mainline work being undertaken.
Unfortunately, what initially seemed to be fairly straightforward faults have proven to be far more deep rooted than first thought. Fund volunteers have carried out many hours of fault finding since the loco’s returned and although a number of faults have been identified and rectified, other faults have subsequently come to light. Some of these are potentially safety related and we are not prepared to allow our locomotives to work Charter trains in anything less than proper working order.
As a result, the decision has been taken to postpone the Torbay & Dart Explorer on July 8th and run it at a later date, now confirmed as September 16th. This is not a decision we have taken lightly and we offer our sincere apologies for the inconvenience this will cause.
As a flavour of the work being undertaken on 50007 three missing items fitted in 50044's electrical cubicle. Two rebuilt KV10 filter boards are now in place, as is resistor Z71, which is part of the control system for the train heat generator. Initially neither the resistor nor one of the filter boards actually fitted the empty fixings in the cubicle. The electrical team are giving a check on cables in 50007 cubicle as some inherited loose connections have been found - every cable, crimp and connection checked after a few have been found loose, dodgy crimps and even some dangling around untaped.
(Fifty Fund Facebook - various contributors).
May 28th 2017
Although the Fund has four out of five 'Hoovers' running the work never stops. This coming week they have working parties on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. The work is varied from changing oil, reseating a windscreen, tracing/rectifying electrical gremlins, brake block change, general maintenance, cleaning and the last stretch on returning 50044 to service. If you fancy getting involved, making friends along the way, having a laugh and don't mind getting a little grubby why not get in touch?
May 15th 2017
A brief news digest from various postings.
50007 on test - 'Hercules' was on test on May 13th, its first train on SVR since its purchase, with 50049. By all accounts it was successful and 50007 will participate at the diesel gala with 50031 and visiting 50008. 50049 will operate on the Sunday's Mixed Traction Gala. The gala and Mixed Traffic leaflet and timetable is available to download.
50044 on repairs.
50031, 50035 and 50049 - in service. 50031 Hood has had its train heating system (ETH) re-commissioned. This will allow it to heat/cool the hired in coaching stock supplied for the 2017 diesel gala. In due course it is hoped that 50049, 50007 and 50035 will also be able to supply ETH power for the Belmond Northern Belle stock. (Joe Burr)
It is hoped to have a locomotive presence at the Old Oak Common open day on September 2nd, more details closer to the event (Jonathan Dunster).
April 24th 2017
A brief news digest from various postings.
Following lots of work and testing 50035, 50049 and 50031 are operational.
To make room on the TMD for the influx of diesels for the Gala 50049 Defiance ran a loose coupled mixed freight from Kidderminster for Bewdley and 50035 an empty stock Kidderminster to Bridgnorth. With the Class 09 out of service 50035 shunted the Northern Belle set - all on April 23rd.
50007 has engine pipework refitted and ETH generator alignment completed. After other work the roof is due to go back on on April 29th.
All the above sounds simple but there has been a huge amount of work on brakes, OTMR, electrics and much else. A tremendous effort from the Fifty Fund volunteers.
April 10th 2017
This weekend the Fifty Fund achieved something quite special. It managed to give 80 people the chance to drive a class 50 on the Severn Valley Railway. This was only possible through the efforts of many on the railway, thanks to all who made it possible. The smiles on the faces of those who took part made it all worthwhile - Joe Burr
Engine refitted to 50007 this morning following overhaul of the main and ETH/Aux generators.
March 29th 2017
Whilst being prepped on Monday for its journey to the Bluebell, 50035 developed a brake fault. The loco had been working fine over the weekend and had been used for shunting duties without any problems. In spite of the best efforts of the guys (which involved some of the top minds in Class 50 preservation until close to Midnight last night, and an awful lot of component swapping between 50035/44/7) the fault remains. We therefore have no option but to withdraw the loco from the Bluebell Gala this weekend.
March 25th 2017
Fitness to Run certificates have been issued for 50031, 50035 and 50049. All three class 50s will be out on the SVR on Monday March 27th for a number of driver training and shake down runs in top and tail formation between Kidderminster and Highley during the course of the day. Commencing with 50035 and 50049, at some point one loco will be swapped for 50031. Timings are fluid as the line will be under a special working arrangement, but first departure will be between 09.30 and 10.00 (approximately).
50035 and 50049 will be visiting to the Bluebell.
50031 will operate ballast trains between March 29th and 31st.
50007's refurbished train heat generator has been delivered.
March 14th 2017
Pathfinder Tours' 'Torbay and Dart Explorer' on July 8th 2017 from Burton-on-Trent to Dartmouth is planned to use a pair of Class 50 Alliance's locomotives from Worcester and return.
50007 'Hercules' - the main generator has now been overhauled along with the ETH generator and the auxiliary generator is now just waiting its new bearing .The main generator will be coming back to Kidderminster on March 16th for refitting to 50007's engine. Tony Middleton
March 1st 2017
The Class 50 Alliance will re-create the glorious era of double-headed Class 50s on the West Coast Main Line with a 13-coach train, The Caledonian. on October 7th 2017. See more on The Fifty Fund website.
February 20th 2017
50035 Ark Royal was on Thunderbird duty. The DMU had an electrical fault this morning in the Bridgnorth end cab, so could only drive from the Kidderminster end. Once it reached Kidderminster 50035 hauled the unit for the rest of the day.
More bad news on 50007, however. The main generator bearing is in a bad way and is showing signs of age. The bearing race has scored on it which has damaged bearing in the bearing race. The cost to replace the bearing is £2,000. To help keep these machines going, please make a donation or start a standing order. Links are shown above.
February 19th 2017
50044's heat exchanger shows water on the oil side and oil on the water side. There will be a burst tube in there somewhere. The Fund has started stripping down so it can in situ pressure test and isolate the tube for the time being. This should not affect plans for he locomtive's availibility for traffic.
February 15th 2017
Images from Bob Dunn added to the gallery showing work on 50007's engine bay under the gaze of the former Old Oak Common TMD clock, in Kidderminster TMD, and a power unit wash down.
Work on the generator overhaul at Bower's has continued, with new banding on the armature.
February 6th 2017
The Fund is making good progress with work to return 50007 to mainline use.
A test on the main generator managed only 0.7meg at 250 volts, a poor reading and showing the wisdom of planning a specialist overhaul. It has now been stripped down, and Bowers have found the banding on the armature coming off and binding on the field winding as the generator rotates with the engine. If this was to have come off completely whilst the generator was under serious load that the damage would have been very serious and very expensive to repair.
The removal of 25 years' of accumulated dirt (mostly oil with suspended exhaust carbon) from the air distribution components, and Bowers' investigation of the main generator, are proof that the Fund work to an appropriate standard.
You can help too. The Fund’s volunteers come from all walks of life. Even if you can't get to Kidderminster to help out you can always donate or buy shares and assist in that way.
Joe Burr, Anthony Middleton
January 22nd 2017
Images added to the gallery. D407's engine lift took place on 22nd and in darkness the generators were detached. The main generator and engine room are, from the images, dirty. A team has been cleaning the engine room prior to repainting.
Amid all the excitement work continued on 50049 concentrating on air pipes.
January 20th 2017
Following a last minute change of plans, the power unit lift on 50007 will now take place at Kidderminster TMD. The loco requires the power unit to be removed so that the Main Generator can be sent away for overhaul prior to use on the mainline. At the same time the opportunity will be taken to remove the ETH/Aux generators and carry out the same insulation modification as we did on the rest of the C50A fleet a couple of years ago. Whilst all that is going on, our volunteers will use the down time to give the inside of 50007 a thorough clean and inspection.
The ability to carry out this level of work at short notice is an indication of just how invaluable the new Diesel Depot is proving to be. Such work would have previously taken many months of planning, and we are indebted to the SVR for agreeing to accept the loco whilst this work is carried out.
January 14th 2017
Two locos - 50035 and 50049, subject to the usual caveats regarding availability - will attend this year's Bluebell Railway Diesel Gala from Friday March 31st to Sunday April 2nd. This will be the first visit of the class to the railway. The press release from the Railway can be found here
Meanwhile, 50007 will be moving from Washwood Heath to Kidderminster TMD on Monday 16th January hauled by a Class 31. Running as 0Z50 13//54 from Washwood Heath arriving at 16//05hrs. We are are very grateful to DCR for their assistance with this movement and to the SVR for accepting the locomotive on site.
Fifty Fund Facebook
January 6th 2017 - Recent work
50031 is now covered for the winter.
On 50035 work has taken place to fix the air leak giving low power.
50044 has had the door latches fixing and the brake gearing greased.
50049 has had further work on the AWS box with missing small circlips replaced so the pins remain seated correctly. The socket can now be refitted back onto the AWS Receiver connection box. The box has had sheared bolts drilled out and retapped ready for refitting. 49 is now covered for the winter.
External renovation work has commenced on the red coach.
Off the SVR, 50007 ran up this and checked over before its planned moved later this month to Derby, The engine room required some very heavy cleaning prior to the power unit being removed.
November 28th 2016
For anyone out and about to see some 50 action on the Valley tomorrow Hood will deputise for Defiance.
November 24th 2016
Mostly sunny weather is forecast for Worcestershire next Tuesday (29th). What better time to get pictures of a large logo class 50 bimbling through the Autumn colours along the Severn Valley? 50049 Defiance will be running between Kidderminster and Highley with a rake of stock on three testing and training runs. Can't be precise about times but approx 10.00 off Kidderminster with the first run.
November 16th 2016
Visit the new Fifty Fund website at http://www.fiftyfund.org.uk/ which carries a fleet update.
November 13th 2016
The primary job was the AWS issue on 50049 but despite putting wires and probes here, there and everywhere it refused to work. Time was called after six hours and more deep thought is required. One of those frustrating days that you get now and again in class 50 land.
November 7th 2016
See the Press Release
The Class 50 Alliance has completed the acquisition of diesel electric locomotive 50007 Hercules, from Neil Boden, for mainline contract work.
The locomotive, currently based at Washwood Heath, Birmingham, will soon join the C50A’s fleet and was selected due to its overall condition and suitability for future mainline work. Commenting on the purchase, Jonathan Dunster, Chairman of the C50A said: “We are delighted to add 50007 to our fleet and look forward to beginning our next chapter of mainline operation in the coming months”.
“The purchase has only been possible thanks to the tremendous generosity of Phil Swallow and a small number of our existing shareholders, who have kindly provided the finance necessary to secure 50007. The C50A has to repay this loan over the next two years, and we’re now embarking on a major fund raising campaign to encourage shareholders old and new to become part-owners in not only Hercules, but the rest of the fleet.
“We mustn’t underestimate the scale of the fund raising task ahead, and I urge anyone with an interest in Class 50s to consider making an investment, however large or small. Only with the support of our members, can we continue to keep the Class 50s in action, and secure the future of our fleet,” he added.
Before entering service, 50007 will undergo a thorough technical inspection and both its main and train heat generator will be overhauled.
The locomotive will then take up crew training with an as yet unnamed Train Operator, before beginning a period of contracted mainline work. However, it is also expected to be available for occasional use on the heritage railway circuit, and potentially also some railtours. Details of the mainline operations will be the subject of a further announcement.
Jonathan Dunster added: “Hercules has been acquired primarily for mainline work, and this will help fund its ongoing maintenance, and significantly contribute to the upkeep of the rest of our locos and the turnover and profitability of the Alliance. Our 100 mph ETH fitted locomotives are useful assets suited to a range of duties, and we look forward to having 50007 available, alongside our other two mainline registered locos 50044 and 50049 in the months ahead. “We would like to thank Neil (Boden) and his team for their cooperation with the sale, and of course for their great work in returning this fine locomotive to the mainline in recent years.”
The locomotive is expected to play a key part in a programme of events currently under consideration to mark the 50th anniversary of the Class 50s, beginning next year.
Joe Burr, Chairman of the Fifty Fund, support group for the C50A fleet added: “We’re currently in discussions with a number of stakeholders about an exciting programme of events to mark 50 years since the introduction of this iconic class of locomotive. We want to put together a coordinated programme to celebrate 50 years of the 50s, and we expect it will involve a sensible number of mainline railtours, events at heritage railways and a number of interesting merchandising opportunities.
“A working group has been established and we will be contacting other locomotive owners shortly about getting involved. We expect to reveal more details early next year, for a programme spread out between October 2017 and November 2018 – the period marking the anniversaries of the introduction of the first locomotive D400, and our own D449 – the last express passenger diesel locomotive to be built in Britain.”
For those interested in participating in the programme of events to mark 50 years of the Class 50s, please contact
Have you considered setting up a Standing Order with us? Even a few pounds a month is invaluable to us for the maintenance of our locomotives.
November 6th 2016
A defective shackle on Ark Royal was replaced, more valves refitted to 044 and oil pressure checks done on 031 and 049. Despite best efforts the fault with the AWS on Defiance was not cured.
(Steve Tripp, Bob Dunn)
October 20th, 2016
50044 - Water filler pipes were connected and various overhauled valves fitted, significant steps bringing Exeter closer to completion.
50049 – Volunteers fitted and tested two recently overhauled brake valves. Defiance is now on the pit awaiting having the AWS Receiver change, planned for October 22nd.