Query Corner

Q13.28. Last Locomotives Bearing Pre-nationalisation Company Labelling

It is well known that many locomotives maintained their pre-nationalisation branding for years into the British Railways era, and a colour transparency of pannier tank 7428, photographed at Aberystwyth in July 1962, with the letters GWR on the pannier tanks leads to the question of what were the last locomotives of each of the four companies to keep their old brandings, and when did they succumb to BR? Any late records would help to put a picture together of which the last survivors were. Also how did they get away without repaints for so long? (BO:8311)

Re last locomotives carrying pre-nationalisation identification, I offer the following:- A GWR 3500 gallon tender, lettered GWR floated about until at least 1960, I believe the last recipient being a Manor 4-6-0. The late Dick Riley had a colour slide of it. Circa 1959/60, Leamington ’s station pilot was pannier tank 7782, also with GWR still on the tank sides. Even more staggering, at that time, was the Leamington MPD (84D) stationary boiler, which was withdrawn 2021 0-6-0PT 2067. This was still in pre-1928 GWR green livery, with Great Western, in full lettering, on the tanks, so well over thirty years since a repaint. (DW:18498)

This is an interesting subject ! On 2nd August 1963 I photographed 7816 Frilsham Manor with the tender adorned with 'GWR'. It was acting as Reading up side pilot/standby. No doubt you will get other examples. (CH:7799)

The last Southern engine to carry the Branding SOUTHERN was W class 2-6-4T 31916 which kept it until March 1956, albeit a very faint legend by then. It had been renumbered from 1916 to 31916 in 1948 but as it was not repainted the SOUTHERN was left undisturbed. There were many engines in this category, but 31916 was the last to be brought fully in line with BR insignia. (BIF:3756)

The record for longevity as regards prenationalisation liveries must go to Ex North Eastern Railway (LNER ClassEF1) Bo-Bo Electric (Shildon = Newport line), which after 28 years of LNER then BR ownership still retained “NORTH EASTERN” in full, and its North Eastern Railway 24 inch elliptical brass numberplate “5”, at the body ends of both ends of the locomotive until cut up at Darlington (BR) North Road Scrap yard in 1951 – still in “North Eastern” black-lined red livery. I recall seeing the locomotive in 1950 stored under cover in South Gosforth E.M.U. depot, as a school boy; with the first Express passenger 4-6-4 electric (an historical item for UK whose value – historically went unappreciated). (WH6337)

last updated: 07/04/14