A look at some of the diesel locomotives that appeared on the line.
Introduction of Dieselisation
As early as 28th September 1962, tests began on diesel haulage of the iron ore trains. BR/Sulzer Type 4 No. 171 (later Class 46 46034) hauled a fully loaded, 800 ton, nine wagon train from Tyne Dock to Consett without a banker being used. The air equipment on the locomotive was modified to allow for the operation of the hopper doors at Consett and the working was, by all accounts, a successful one with the journey taking 78 minutes rather than the normal 104 minutes.
Further diesel trials took place in September 1963 when two Clayton (later Class 17) locomotives D8500 and D8501 were trialled on the ore trains. D8536 replaced D8500 but the trials were unsuccessful as the locomotives proved to be too underpowered to handle the weight of the trains.
The Claytons were also used, at least once, at the rear of a train hauled by a single Type 2 (later Class 24) as shown in the photograph on the right:
By December 1964, Sulzer Type 4 (later Class 40) locomotives, based at Tyne Yard, had taken over the duty of banking engine from South Pelaw to Annfield Plain.
Type 2 (later Class 24)
During the summer of 1966, the Type 2 diesels started taking over the iron ore workings and August 1966 saw a number of unusual workings. D5149 was seen on the 15th at Consett with a train of nine empty ore wagons and a brake van. D511 was spotted with a single coach (possibly an inspection coach) on the 24th and on the 26th D5179 was seen on a loaded iron ore train at Stanley operating singly albeit with Type 4 D227 banking.
Following the retirement of the 9Fs, ten Gateshead based Type 2s (D5102-D5111) were modified specifically to operate the iron ore trains. The modifications involved the removal of their train heating boilers and water tanks and receiving the necessary compressors and pipework to operate the wagon doors, the work taking place at Crewe and, possibly, Derby works.
The locomotives were designed to run in pairs which, due to the length of the trains would require them to reverse on to the unloading gantry at Consett.