The Metro-Vick Co-Bo Story and East West Rail

Our opening meeting of the new year featured two excellent presentations much enjoyed by an audience of 56 RCTS members from far and wide.

Steve Dexter, our chairman, started the evening with an appraisal of the Class 28 Co-Bo locomotives (or Metro-Vick Type 2) which were introduced as one of the pilot classes following the 1955 BR modernisation plan. As Steve related, these locos earned a reputation for poor performance and not achieving their early promise. They had some unusual features such as two-stroke diesel engines, a Co-Bo wheel arrangement, cab doors only provided on the second man’s side and the power controller was a wheel with 10-notches. Despite these eccentric differences, the locos were generally well liked by the crews. Problems with the Crossley engines soon emerged, and the entire fleet spent periods in store before finding a brief period of reliability when all the locos were reallocated to Barrow (12E). They ended their days ignominiously allocated to Carlisle Upperby (and later Kingmoor) and all were withdrawn by September 1968. By chance D5705 survived and went on to enjoy a new life as a static carriage heating unit before entering departmental service at Derby RTC. It has survived into preservation and is currently undergoing restoration to working order at the East Lancs Railway. A remarkable survivor of an often ill-regarded and probably under-rated class of diesels that could, in different circumstances, have had successful careers with BR.

Clive Pepper, one of our hard-working committee, presented a short update on progress with the re-construction of the Bletchley flyover into a ‘covered way’. Work is also progressing on two new high-level platforms for Bletchley. This was a gentle introduction to Clive’s fiendishly difficult East West Rail quiz! All the locations were on east to west railways or had the compass points east or west in their name. No one could claim to have got them all right, those that scored more than ten out of the twenty-one locations shown was doing well!

An excellent evening featuring two very diverse presentations and pleasing to see a good attendance.