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NBL Ltd 16 Bo-Bo

Locomotive History
Information and History

Another of the orders placed under the pilot scheme of the Modernisation Plan was for a small fleet of ten type A (Type 1) Bo-Bo locomotives for which the construction contract was awarded to the North British Locomotive Co. (NBL) of Glasgow. This company had previously built the LMSR Bo-Bo prototype No. 10800, and this fleet showed a remarkable resemblance to this locomotive. The power plant adopted was the Paxman 16YHXL which drove GEC traction equipment. Running numbers allocated to the fleet were D8400-D8409.

Construction of the first locomotive commenced in late 1956 at the NBL Oueen's Park Works in Glasgow, emerging for active road testing in July 1958. This was initially carried out around Glasgow, and later, after acceptance at Doncaster, in London where the entire fleet was originally shedded at Devons Road in Bow. The ten examples of the fleet all emerged in just under a year, but before the last of the class entered service some of the earlier delivered examples were suffering major technical problems and failure, leading to some of them spending lengthy periods out of service, usually at Stratford Works.

The main problem was the diesel engine, which although the same as that fitted to the D8200 fleet, had the tendency to seize in the D8400s, caused by inadequate ventilation of the power unit due to fundamental design deficiencies. Another problem identified was water contamination of the oil, caused by cylinder head failure. Another problem area which caused concern was the electro-magnetic control equipment which was not only non-standard but prone to failure. This also prevented the locomotives from operating in multiple with the more commonly found electro-pneumatic types.

After a short period of service the entire fleet was concentrated at Stratford depot in East London from where they could be found operating light weight cross-London freights and trip working in the East London area - so, as to be close to Stratford repair shops for urgent attention if required! With the decline of freight traffic in the late 1960s and their poor operating history these locomotives were deemed as surplus to requirements during 1968. All were subsequently sold for scrap, with none being saved for preservation.

The livery applied when built was standard locomotive green, which remained with the addition of yellow warning ends until their withdrawal. Under the BR classification system this fleet were deemed as Class 16.

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