The BREL Class 58 locomotives

The BREL-built class 58 co-co loco was introduced in 1983, with the last locomotive being accepted in March 1987. Built at Doncaster the class numbered 50 examples and the early deliveries were subject to extensive acceptance testing which took most of 1984 mainly utilising  58001.

Testing soon found the 58's Achilles’ heel - that of a tendency to slip and a long period of testing and development took place during 1984 in conjunction with the Brush engineers.

The final loco, 58050 was fitted with a separately excited traction motors (SEPEX) wheelslip control system, which allowed a much better control of slipping, but upon completion of the trials the equipment was removed before the locomotive entered traffic with BR in 1987

Although the author was not directly involved with the testing & commissioning of these locomotives they were around at the RTC in 1983/4 when undergoing acceptance testing and commissioning by my colleagues. I was involved doing other things with the prototype Sprinters.

Click on the picture for a bigger image - pictures are BR official unless otherwise credited

Propelling 58001 propelling Test Car 6 towards Burton on Trent in order to turn the train on the triangle south of the station sometime in 1983
Turning move Another shot of 58001 propelling Test Car 6 towards Burton sometime in 1983
RTC 58001 coupled to Test car 6 at the side of the EDU at the RTC sometime in 1983
On the Midland at Sileby on 19th February 1983 sees 45106 with 58001, Lab 6, Lab 10 and Test Car 10 probably heading for Old Dalby


The same train heads towards Leicester in this view TC6 ADB975290, Lab 10 RDB975428 and TC10 ADB975814


A close up of the locomotive 58001


58001 at Leicester, with TC6 in tow, probably returning to the RTC from a run to Cricklewood sometime during 1984

Paul Rowlatt

Sutton 58004, Test Car 6 and 58005 at Sutton Colliery in 1984 whilst undertaking wheel slip tests- the locos were actually working in multiple as TC6 was through-wired
58005 58005 at Sutton Colliery
58004 58004 - during these trials over a 3 month period one loco was re-wired to have separately excited motors. 58050 was fitted with SEPEX which made a remarkable improvement to the ability of the loco to keep its feet, however it was not pursued

In service

Click on the picture for a bigger image - all pictures are the author's

58001 58011 in the sidings at RTC - probably during 1984
Donnington Unidentified class 58 waiting to come off the Donnington Branch on 21st January 1985
Ratcliffe 58022 heading north near Ratcliffe power station in summer 1986
58005 58005 on a test train at Crewe on 14th July 1999
Barrow Restored 58001 at Barrow Hill on 18th May 2008

More will be added


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