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Ex BR Diesel Locomotives in Industrial Service.

Contraction of the railway network and the general reduction in rail transport during the 1960s combined to make a large number of  BR diesel shunting locomotives redundant.  Rather than scrapping these surplus locomotives, starting in 1966, BR started to dispose of them to industrial users such as colleries, steelworks and quarries. By 1972 nearly 200 locomotives had been sold for such use.  Little information about these was though published, other than in specialist society periodicals, such as those of the Industrial Railway Society and Railway Correspondence and Travel Society. No comprehensive listings were readily available listing which locomotives survived and where they were located.  

During the Spring of 1972 the Industrial Railway Society published the first edition of its 'Former British Rail Diesel Locomotives in Industrial Service'. For the first time a listing of the BR diesel shunting locomotives and there whereabouts was available.  This coincided with the inclusion in the 1972 Ian Allan Combined Volume of a list of locomotives sold for such use.  The appearance of this list alerted many spotters to just how many of the shunting locomotives no longer listed in the spotting books  actually survived. A few of these locomotives were at locations visible from passing trains whilst some occasionally visited BR depots, usually for wheel turning. The majority though where not easy to locate or see.  However, the Industrial Railway Society booklet wasn't initially widely known about.  It only being available by post from the Society and its availabillity rarely advertised in the various railway magazines.

Also, at the time few spotters had seen all the BR locomotives then in service.  It was only when achieving that goal that many of them started seeking out the "Ex BR's" they hadn't seen.

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A consequence of the publication of 'Former British Rail Diesel Locomotives in Industrial Service' was that more information about  locomotives previously sold slowly emerged. This, combined with BR selling further locomotives to industrial users, saw supplements to the book being produced during 1973 and 1974.  However, it wasn't until 1981 that a second edition was published.  

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During the Summer of 1974 the Northern Counties Transport Society and Inter-City Railway Society duplicators went into action with 'EX B.R. LOCOS IN INDUSTRIAL USE' and 'EX B.R. SHUNTERS IN INDUSTRIAL USE' respectively. These were very basic listings of Ex BR diesel locomotives with little more than  locomotive numbers and locations.  They where though much more widely available, being sold at open says, on club excursions and by roving society members on platform ends. 

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 Which society was first into print isn't clear, however the content is very similar, suggesting some copying by one or other society might have been taken place.  Comparison with the Industrail Railway Society booklet and supplements suggests they were the original source of much of the content.

The Northern Counties Transport Society published another four editions of its booklet.  The last was in 1977 by which time the title had changed slightly to 'Ex B.R. Loco's in Industrial Service'. 


No further editions are credited to the Inter-City Railway Society.  Interestingly though they are acknowledged in a more detailed 'EX-BR DIESELS IN INDUSTRIAL SERVICE' compiled by Geoff Woodley and Ron Wood in 1975.


The South Yorkshire Railway Society / Little Midland Railway Society produced a basic listing in 1976 and 1977.  The covers were different but the content the same.

By the late 1970s, basic number and locations listings for Ex BR diesel locomotives were included in most spotting books.  Seperate publications, other than that of the Industrail Railway Society, having ceased.   

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ICRS ex BR 2 cover002.jpg
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