The Westerns...

D1022 at Reading on April 11, 1975. Picture: Adrian Curtis

D1022 at Reading on April 11, 1975. Picture: Adrian Curtis

The Western Class 52s...

A total of 74 diesel-hydraulic 2700hp locomotives were built by Swindon (D1000-29) and Crewe (D1030-73) Works.

Designed by consultants Sir Misha Black and John Beresford-Evans, in collaboration with Swindon Works, the locomotives provided the mainstay of power on the West of England main line until their withdrawal in 1977.

They could also be found in Wales as well as further afield, away from home territory, on rare occasions. The fleet were all named and given the prefix 'Western' hence the name 'Western' Class. Full details behind the design, naming and choice of liveries for the fleet, can be found in the Western Chronicles series of books.

The class continued in service until their eventual rundown when BR opted for diesel electrics as the standard power for its locomotive fleet.

So, from 1967, the various diesel hydraulic classes were consigned to the scrap heap, including the first five North British built Warships (D600-4); the 101 Hymek Type (3) later Class 35, (D7000-7100); the Class 22 Baby Warships (D6300-57) and the 70 Warship Type (4), later Class 42 (BR)/43 (NBL).

The Westerns were the last survivors of the DH era and became one of the most popular diesels ever built among enthusiasts, who rode behind and photographed the fleet in their numbers in their final years. 

Each member of the fleet and the workings for each particular year are represented here, they also include Works visits, experiments and maintenance records where applicable.

There is also a key for abbreviations (see glossary below) to help you work out some of the technical jargon used by the railways.  The workings have been traced back to the Working Timetables of the period, but some of the conditional and mandatory supplements have not been easy to track down and therefore, it maybe that timings are slightly awry in some cases. Nor has it been possible to gather all the relevant supplements, so some gaps may appear. When the project first began, way back in the 1990s, the plan was to find get just one working per day for the locomotive concerned. Thankfully, in the majority of cases, we have been able to do much more, as you will discover.

Rather than rely on what a locomotive should have worked when on a particular diagram, we have only included workings where it has been proven they were used. Engines had a habit of developing a fault which took them out of their allotted diagrams. While we have highlighted some diagrams for particular years, it should be easy to work out the more regular ones, for example in the mid-70s the 1B65 13.30 Paddington-Penzance loco nearly always worked back up to London overnight with the 1A49 22.10 off Penzance.

There are also many fill-in turns worked by engines, but the lack of full records, particularly on the Wales services, means that some gaps are self-evident, so if any of you can fill in any of those missing, we'd love to hear from you. Even so, the numerous workings in the database is, by far and above, anything that has been published either in books or online before, and it is FREE for enthusiasts to peruse and make use of, all we ask is that you credit this website. So, please enjoy...

Reading Spotter's ticket web.jpg


 Stations/Depot/Stabling Points

BBY: Banbury; BLY: Bletchley; BNS: Birmingham New Street; BRD: Bristol Bath Road Depot; CARM: Carmarthen; CHELT: Cheltenham; CTN: Cardiff Canton Depot; DID: Didcot; EC: Exeter Central; ECB: Exeter City Basin; EXE SP: Exeter Stabling Point/Shed; ER: Exeter Riverside; ESD: Exeter St. Davids; FH: Fishguard Harbour; GLOS: Gloucester; HW: High Wycombe; LA: Plymouth Laira Depot; LDR: Landore Depot (Swansea); MH: Milford Haven; NA: Newton Abbot Depot; NBY: Newbury; NQY: Newquay; OOC: Old Oak Common Depot; OXF: Oxford; PADD: London Paddington; PTN: Paignton; PZ: Penzance Depot; RB: Ranelagh Bridge Refuelling Point; RAD: Radley; RDG: Reading Depot; SDN: Swindon; STBZY: St. Blazey Depot; STJ: Severn Tunnel Junction; TTN: Taunton Depot/Stabling Point; TQY: Torquay; WBY: Westbury Depot/Stabling Point; WSM: Weston-Super-Mare; WORCS: Worcester

 Locomotives/Coaching Stock/Freight

Adex: Advertised Excursion; CR: Classified Repair; DH: Double-Headed; ECS: Empty Coaching Stock; FHD: For Home Depot; Fld: Failed; Footex: Football Charter; FWO: Freight Working Only; GR: General Repair; HFR: Home For Repairs; HWT: High Water Temperature/Trips; LAGGARD: Required at Depot or Works immediately; L/d: Light Diesel; LWO: Local Working Only; M/f: Maintenance Foreman; M/R: Maintenance/Repairs; MTRL: Motorail; NB: No Boiler; NFF: No Fault Found; NH: No Heat; OEO: One Engine Only/Out; OJO: One Journey Only; PW: Permanent Way; QCI: Quality Control Inspectors; Ruggex: Rugby Charter; UFC: Under Frame Cleaning; UR: Unscheduled/Unclassified Repair; U/s: Unserviceable; Wkd Fwd: Worked Forward


A sample of the official documents we’ve worked from - this one is for 1971 and that year’s known movements is coming soon!

A sample of the official documents we’ve worked from - this one is for 1971 and that year’s known movements is coming soon!




So far these are the complete engines that have been uploaded to the database (with workings from 1972 until their demise) with as much information as we possible have. Obviously, as outlined above, there are gaps, but these get shorter as the years go by. Any one with further observations or queries, should use the contact form to get in touch with the Chief Westerneer.