While it was not until the late 1940s that the first main-line diesel locomotives were constructed for use in Britain, with the appearance of LMS Nos 10000 and 10001, diesel shunters had been under construction for use by the 'Big Four' railways for more than a decade.
In many respects, it was the humble shunting locomotive that represented the first radical shift from steam power, with more than 100 diesel shunters in service by 1950, including many that were the progenitors of the ubiquitous Classes 08/09/10 0-6-0s constructed in huge numbers during the period.
During BR's transition from steam, around 2,000 diesel shunters emerged from BR's own workshops and those of outside contractors, comprising a wide variety of types.
Some of the resulting locomotives were traditionally associated with specific regions, such as the Andrew Barclay-built Class 06s which were based exclusively in Scotland, or with specific duties, such as the Class 07s built for Southampton Docks, but others, most notably the Class 08s, would be seen throughout the railway network. Even today, more than 40 years after the last of the class was built, several hundred examples of Class 08 still provide essential shunting services in freight yards and passenger depots throughout the length and breadth of the land.
Despite their longevity and ubiquity, little has been written on the diesel shunters, and this new addition to the OPC list will be widely welcomed.
Colin Marsden, whose earlier OPC book on the subject is both long out of print and much sought after, has compiled a pictorial history of the diesel shunter in Britain, from the earliest days under the 'Big Four' to the current, post privatisation period.
Covering each type in detail, the author provides factual information such as dimensions, number sequences, power, speed etc, together with a photographic selection that highlights the various liveries that the class carried in service.
In addition to those locomotives allocated to capital stock, the book also examines the various types of locomotive acquired solely for departmental duties, such as the quintet acquired from Ruston & Hornsby, and those numbered in the LMS's Engineering Department sequence.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 240 pages, 350 colour photographs
- Publisher: Crecy Publishing
- Publication Date: 05/11/2003
- Category: Trains & railways: general interest
- ISBN: 9780860935797