Pro­to­type fact­file: 31418

Model Rail (UK) - - Workbench -

Built at the fa­mous Brush Works in Lough­bor­ough, D5522 en­tered traf­fic in March 1959, at Strat­ford de­pot, along with the pre­vi­ous 22 Brush Type 2s. It was al­lo­cated the TOPS num­ber of 31104 but this was never car­ried, as D5522 was se­lected for Elec­tric Train Heat­ing (ETH) con­ver­sion in 1973. Gain­ing the new iden­tity of 31418, this was the first lo­co­mo­tive of the orig­i­nal head­code disc – or ‘skin­head’ – pat­tern to be con­verted. Even­tu­ally, 69 lo­co­mo­tives were con­verted to ‘31/4’ sta­tus by the late 1980s, with just three more ‘skin­heads’ treated (31444/450/461). Ini­tially, 31418 re­tained its steam gen­er­a­tor after ETH con­ver­sion, along with the disc head­codes and orig­i­nal fit­tings, such as buffer­beam cowl­ings and a raised waist-level panel. Fol­low­ing a heavy gen­eral over­haul in the late 1980s, the boiler was re­moved and all as­so­ci­ated body fit­ments plated over.

The el­e­gant cowl­ings and waist strip were also cut away. High-in­ten­sity head­lights were in­stalled around the turn of the 1990s, along with rooftop aerial pods. By this time, 31418’s use on pas­sen­ger stock was dwin­dling, with parcels, freight and civil engi­neers’ work­ings be­ing more com­mon. Be­com­ing some­thing of a celebrity in the North West and Mid­lands, the shabby blue lo­co­mo­tive re­ceived the un­of­fi­cial name of ‘Boadicea’, ap­plied in white ital­ics on the body­sides, along with painted-on white disc head­codes at the No. 1 end. As Bri­tish Rail frag­mented, 31418 was briefly taken into Tran­srail’s trac­tion fleet, be­fore with­drawal in Oc­to­ber 1995. Hap­pily, preser­va­tion beck­oned un­der the care of A1A Lo­co­mo­tives. Currently, ‘418’ is un­der­go­ing restora­tion at the Midland Rail­way Cen­tre.


31418 leads class­mate 31411 and Class 47 47978 at an un­recorded lo­ca­tion in Novem­ber 1993.

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