An Unsuccessful Class of Diesel Locomotive

My most recent completed proofreading project for Pen & Sword Books was another in their series of ‘Locomotive Portfolios’, the locomotive class in question being the Class 22 diesel-hydraulic engines built by North British for the Western Region (WR) of British Railways (BR). The author was Anthony Sayer; I have previously worked on a couple of his other books, these covering class 14, 15 and 16 diesels. The latest book was (I understood from the text) to be the first part of a two-part work on these ill-fated machines, which were plagued by problems of various kinds throughout their short lives. Fifty-eight were built, six of which were pilot scheme engines. If BR’s original plan had been stuck to, the pilot testing scheme would have taken place, confirming if the rest of the fleet could be built (or not). Sadly, railway financial losses led to a belief that once steam traction had been eliminated, the financial problems would be resolved – this, in turn, led to massive orders being placed for untested machines. The 22s had all left railway service by the start of 1973 – a shocking waste of money. One wonders if a few of the more modern WR steam locomotives could have filled the gaps until diesel-electric engines were available in quantity – perhaps a better use of taxpayers’ money. (In conclusion, the book is a comprehensive work, well-researched and a useful reference for those interested.)

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