Manufacturer catalogue image
Era 7 (1972 to 1982) British Rail Blue (TOPS)
Ruston & Hornsby Ltd, of Lincoln, was formed as the result of the merger between Ruston, Proctor & Co. Ltd and Richard Hornsby & Sons Ltd on September 11, 1918 and their first narrow gauge diesel locomotive left the works on September 1, 1931.
In the summer of 1932, production was moved to the larger Boultham Works, where the firm were eventually to become Britain's largest builder of diesel locomotives, with over 6,500 being built by the time production ceased in 1969. Almost as soon as the firm's 44/48HP 0-4-0 locomotives were making an appearance, an upgraded, more powerful 0-4-0 was on the drawing board. Although many of the features of the 44/48HP were retained for the new 80/88HP, such as the chain drive and running gear, a new type of transmission was fitted, along with Westinghouse airbrakes. The new power unit, Ruston's own 4VPB, delivered 80BHP at 1000rpm and was later supplanted by Ruston's improved 4VPH that delivered 88BHP, but it required compressed air to be injected into the cylinders to be able to start.
While running, an air reservoir was kept charged via the braking system, but after standing idle for a period the reservoir depleted and a secondary source was required to recharge the reservoir. This was achieved by fitting a small, secondary 1½HP 'donkey' engine, giving rise to a distinctive raised cover on the right hand side of the engine compartment that differed in size and placement depending on the make of engine used. Two basic weight options were offered for the 80/88HP, of 17 tons and 20 tons, the difference being achieved by attaching weights to the outside frames, as well as to the front and rear buffer beams.
In 1941, Ruston's locomotive classifications were changed, with the 80/88HP becoming 88DS (with the narrow gauge versions being assigned the DSM and DSN suffix, and the broader gauges assigned DSW). Outward appearance changes to the 'standard' locomotives were mainly confined to the cab area, with examples from mid-1947 replacing the open cab with a fully enclosed cab that featured several ad-hoc styles of front window. The final 88DS, 518494, left Boultham Works on 29 November 1967, bringing to an end a production run of 271 locomotives.
Ruston 408493 was built new for British Railways Western Region, for use at the Signalling & Telecommunications Department workshops at Reading and was delivered in January 1957. Taking the Departmental number 20, the locomotive spent its entire lifetime at Reading, housed under the Vastern Road bridge when not in use. Renumbered in 1973 under TOPS, to 97020, withdrawal came in April 1981 and it was disposed of at Reading by Cartrights of Tipton in August 1982, being replaced by a Barclay Class 06 No. 06003, which was transferred to Reading from the Scottish Region.
* Class names often change over the lifespan of a locomotive, so this is not necessarily the class name used by the operator in the period modelled.