BR Class 52 D1062 Western Courier
BR Crewe Works
D1062 Western Courier, built at Crewe Works, released to traffic May 6th 1963, is now approaching sixty years of age. It travelled 1,096,000 miles during its BR career before withdrawal on 23rd August 1974 after just 11 years.
During BR service, Courier was allocated to numerous depots around the Western Region.
Courier arrived at Swindon on 30th September 1974 for scrapping, but was destined for greater things. It was moved onto the works turntable 10th August 1975 and was displayed at the Open Day.
Purchased by the Western Locomotive Association in November 1976, restoration to the original maroon livery with half-yellow panels soon began. The locomotive has carried a number of liveries; maroon with half-yellow panels, followed by BR blue with full yellow ends. In preservation, following maroon with half-yellow panels, full-yellow ends were applied in September 1991. Finally, in May 2017, following a membership vote at the WLA’s 2016 AGM, Courier made a return to blue with full-yellow ends, a SINGLE vote making the difference!
Both Maybach engines were started for the first time in preservation on 29th April 1977. The loco was moved from Swindon to a new home at the Torbay & Dartmouth Railway the following month, and in July hauled its first official train in preservation – the ‘Western Reunion’ Railtour.
A year later, Courier left the TDR with D1013 ‘Western Ranger, for the Severn Valley Railway, with both locos operating the first SVR ‘Western Weekend’ in March 1979.
Courier travelled further afield on several occasions such as the Rainhill Cavalcade for the 150th Anniversary of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway in 1980, the Plymouth Laira Depot Open Day with fellow classmates Campaigner, Ranger, Champion and Fusilier in 1991, and West Somerset Railway’s Diesel Extravaganza in 1994.
After a period languishing out of use, Courier returned to Bridgnorth in December 1998 and work commenced on a major 10-year overhaul. Although out of traffic, Courier celebrated its 40th birthday in May 2003 when both engines were started.
Courier returned to traffic in August 2008 and has been hauling services and delighting followers ever since.