BR Class 40 40106 Atlantic Conveyor

Built 

1960

Built by

Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns Ltd

Length

69ft 6″

Weight

135t

Status

Active

The earliest mainline diesels in Britain were English Electric locomotive, designed by the LMS and Southern Railways. The Modernisation Plan of 1955 brought a direct descendent, a type 4 eight-axled locomotive, incorporating a 16-cylinder EE engine rated at 2,000hp, equipped with steam heating equipment. Operating on the West Coast mainline from 1958, they replaced much-loved steam locomotives on top link expresses. Electrification work in the 1960s saw trains regularly diverted so they were commonly seen in the West Midlands.

A combination of electrification and lighter, more powerful successors saw them progressively relegated to freight, such as parcels and coal traffic, where they were equally at home on heavy trains over steep gradients. They remained popular with enthusiasts who nicknamed them ‘Whistlers’ due to their high-pitched turbochargers. They later became BR Class 40.

As D306, this locomotive was one of 20 built by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns at Darlington. It entered service at Crewe in 1960 and remained based in the north west of England its entire working life. In the late 1970s, BR repainted it in a heritage green livery for railtour and other special workings, including a railtour to the SVR in 1979 and the ‘Rocket 150’ celebrations at Rainhill in 1980.

First preserved in 1984, it again visited the SVR’s 2011 and 2014 diesel galas. It’s now owned by the Class 40 Preservation Society, based at the East Lancashire Railway in Bury. It moved to the SVR in 2018 where its steam heating is invaluable for working passenger services during the winter period, and it’s proved a popular loco.

A film star, 40106 featured in a re-enactment of the Great Train Robbery for the 1987 film Buster.

In BR service, several classmates carried names of merchant ships. In 1984 it was named Atlantic Conveyor in memory of the 12 who lost their lives on board the cargo ship of that name during the 1982 Falklands war.

As a link between the early EE mainline diesels and later developments such as the Classes 37 and 50, it is an important example of the development of British diesel traction.

Book your tickets for a journey behind our Class 40

View the locomotive roster to find out when 40106 is next working