A Soaking Wet Teddy Bear


Nov 2014 Peak Rail Rowsley South - Class 14 Diesel Shunter 14901Those who love teddy bears of the fluffy variety need not worry; none were harmed in the making of this blog post!  Today we are looking at a teddy bear of the railway variety, specifically the class 14 diesel-hydraulic locomotive.  14901 is pictured on Peak Rail (click here for more,) running as tail-end charlie for passenger services with Hunslet Austerity Lord Phil operating at the other end (click here to read more.)Nov 2014 Peak Rail Rowsley South - Class 14 Diesel Shunter 14901This class of locomotive are known by enthusiasts as teddy bears, because when looked at front-on they look like a teddy bear’s face.  The nickname was immortalised when being built in Swindon works by the foreman, George Cole who said “We’ve built the Great Bear, now we’re going to build a Teddy Bear!”

14901 is unique amongst members of its class.  It is the only one to be powered by a Rolls-Royce DV8TCE power unit that generates 640bhp at 1800rpm, with other members using a Paxman 6cyl 6YJX Ventura V-type turbo-charged engine.  It was re-engined by BP Grangemouth.  It also has a unique TOPS number and livery.  It’s number and BR blue livery are fictitious as the class were all withdrawn pre-TOPS.  Indeed, the 1964 built locomotive only worked with British Railways until 1969, numbered as D9524..  The number was given to the locomotive in 1991 and to be fair has carried it longer than any other in its career.  The blue also makes it rather unique and suits it well in my opinion.

Much is said about the wastage of steam locomotives during the 1960’s but not so much about much about the needless resources put into some of the diesel locomotives that followed.  Many types were untested and didn’t perform so well, but the class 14 was not one of them.  It’s short life was down to it being designed for short trip workings, transfer freights and yard shunting – duties for which there was a much reduced requirement when they had been built.  However, that being said, most of the class soon found private owners and remarkably 19 have survived of the 56 built with two even being used to help build the Channel Tunnel!

Nov 2014 Peak Rail Matlock - Class 14 Diesel Shunter 14901Regular readers of this blog will know that my favourite DMU class is the Hastings “Thumper” Unit class 205, but probably don’t know that my favourite shunter is the class 14.  I have fond memories of seeing them on the Kent and East Sussex Railway as a child in the 1990’s.  Capable of running at 40mph, they are particularly useful on preserved lines.  Passenger services are restricted on heritage lines to 25mph and they can therefore keep to a timetable better than the far more numerous class 08 that is only capable of 15mph.

Nov 2014 Peak Rail Matlock - Class 14 Diesel Shunter 1490114901 is owned by Andrew Briddon, who also owns the locomotives pictured below.  Andrew has an excellent website well worth checking out (click here to read more.)  Thanks for reading folks! 🙂

4 thoughts on “A Soaking Wet Teddy Bear

    • Well this quite literally the Rolls-Royce of class 14’s, so not surprised that the lights have been upgraded! Just done a little research and apparently the lights were from quarry excavators. Interesting stuff!


      • I’ve only just come across this so hope it isn’t too much out of date. I was probably on the loco at the time you photographed it (although the shots show my colleague with whom I’ve shared most days on it during 2014). I’m am glad you like the livery – but note on other posts you have referred to it as 14 029 – tsk!. As for the lights, the original set we fitted did come off a 150, but during last year we upgraded them to a set off a class 90 (which itself was being upgraded to LED ones). I don’t know where you’ve read that they from a quarry excavator, these lights are really unique to rail


      • Hi, thanks for the corrections, they’re always welcome as mistakes inevitably creep in on occasion. I’m not sure why I renumbered the loco in the other post, but the info on the lights was from elsewhere on the web.

        All the best,

        Dave Deane

        PS Thanks for the work you and your colleagues put in to keep this loco alive. My wife and I very much enjoyed our day!


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