2299 - Bookazine - Diesel Dawn 1 - DELTICS
2299 - Bookazine - Diesel Dawn 1 - DELTICS   

2299 - Bookazine - Diesel Dawn 1 - DELTICS

Gavin Glenister & Tony Wright
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First in a series to record in colour and black and white the prototype
origins and production lives of our diesel classes, from halting beginnings
in the 1950s to (sometimes) premature ends. DELTIC itself was the most
extraordinary prototype of all; culmination of a long and complex road
stretching back would you believe through a First World War German
aero engine, Second World War RAF ground attack aircraft, Kreigsmarine
E-boats and HM Royal Navy. The English Electric project (known as DP1
– Diesel Prototype No.1, which is how we got DP2 years later) to build
DELTIC was speculative, an unusual but not unknown road to take in
locomotive history. DELTIC itself, at 3,300hp, was way, way beyond other
main line diesels; it duly burst upon the scene, to dramatic effect and in
power and speed swept all before it. BR’s existing diesel electric Type 4s
were lumbering giants in comparison. The production fleet that followed,
D9000-D9021, made for a glorious couple of decades on the Anglo-Scottish
workings of the East Coast. This mighty fleet of 22 Deltics brought
electrification levels of performance; that, after all, was their raison d’être,
to provide a level of service equal to electric locomotives and this they did
– their performances were literally ‘electrifying’! Indeed, outside the peak
services they were necessarily somewhat under-utilised – they were almost
too powerful for the job. The coming of the Deltics was a landmark in BR’s
Great Modernisation; with their advent ‘...the first major breakthrough in
speed, frequency, locomotive and coaching stock utilisation in line with
the aims and objectives of BR’s Modernisation Plan was achieved.’ In
terms of 1960s modernisation highlights, little compared to the inauguration
of the Deltics.