Class 14 D9523 BR Maroon (Wasp Stripes)
The British Railways Class 14 is an 0-6-0 diesel-hydraulic locomotive built in the mid-1960s. Twenty-six of the locomotives were ordered in January 1963, to be built at Swindon Works. The anticipated work for this class was trip working movements between local yards and short-distance freight trains. The good all-around visibility from the cab and dual controls also made them capable of being used for shunting duties. The order was expanded from 26 to 56 in mid-1963, before work had started on the first order.
The class was numbered D9500-55 and later designated as TOPS Class 14 by British Railways. They are nicknamed 'Teddy Bears' following a comment by a Swindon Works foreman who commented "We've built The Great Bear, now we're going to build a 'Teddy Bear'!" Originally, all were allocated to Western Region depots, but in January 1967 twenty were sent to Hull (Dairycoates) in the Eastern Region of BR, followed by thirteen more later the same year. At Hull, they were intended for work around the docks, but the tasks were beyond the capabilities of a single locomotive, and since two locomotives required two crews, they were not popular with the region. In 1968, all 33 ER locomotives were placed in store, and were subsequently withdrawn on 1 April that year, joining their Western compatriots that had been progressively sidelined during 1967-68.
The Class 14s, like many other early types of diesel, had an extremely short life with British Railways, in this case not because of poor reliability but because many of its envisaged duties disappeared on the BR network a few years after they came into use. BR started to dispose of members of the class from mid 1968, the entire class had been sold to industry or otherwise disposed of by the end of 1970. In their new careers in industry many had a working life of two to three times greater than that with British Railways. The industries in which they were employed, such as coal mining, declined during the 1970s and the class again became surplus to requirements. Several have found a third lease of life on preserved lines where they are ideal for both light passenger work and the maintenance of permanent way. Some examples even found new uses during construction of the Channel Tunnel and High Speed One, some 3 decades after their conception! With such a versatile history, as it transpires, the Class 14 is a very useful and widely travelled loco type, universally popular with operators and enthusiasts alike.