Was there a system to BR's original diesel numbering?

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Yorkshire222

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The numbering system seems as arbitrary as for steam locos. Class 44/45/46 started from D1 and class 40 from D200, perhaps 45s were ordered first though 40s were delivered sooner. 31s which were also one of the earliest started from D5500. Reading older magazines it's sometimes confusing to work out what modern class an article is referring to though numbers are often prefixed by something like "EE type 4" or "BR sulzer type 3". Was there a system to numbering or did they just allocate a block of numbers when needed?
 
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delt1c

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There may well have been some plan initially for the numbering series , D1 - D1999 were type 4's, 2000 to 2999 were small shunters, 3000 to 4999 were large shunters, after that it seemed to be rather adhoc appart from 8000 to 8999 for type 1's. Deltics and class 14's were both in the 9000's as were 35's and 25's in the 7000 range.
 

30907

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Slightly odd:
Type 4s from D1
Shunters D2000 (smaller)/D3000/4000
Type 2s from D5000 (and then 7500
Type 3s from D6500
Type 1s from D8000
Type 5 D9000 an afterthought!
 
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Cowley

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I do have photographs it is just they are in storage back in England. I remember my first trip to Glasgow and there were loads on Polmadie.
Wouldn’t mind having a look through your photo collection @GRALISTAIR.
I bet you’ve got some amazing stuff in there.
 

randyrippley

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The numbering system seems as arbitrary as for steam locos. Class 44/45/46 started from D1 and class 40 from D200, perhaps 45s were ordered first though 40s were delivered sooner..............

Numbers were allocated at point of order, not delivery. BR workshops ran into problems building the Peaks and were significantly delayed on delivery, even though they were ordered first. In fact the slow build rate of the later production Peaks contributed to the decision to carry on building the class 40, despite it on paper being an inferior machine.
Just to rub the point in, the D600 Warships were the last pilot batch type 4 to be ordered, but the first to be delivered. NBL got some things right (though probably helped by the diesels and transmission being built in Germany not the UK)
 

Bevan Price

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The D75xx series for Class 25s started when all the D5xxx series had been used (or allocated for possible new-build members of existing classes).
The "Brush 2" series in the D58xx range were used because the D57xx block was used by the Metrovick "Co-Bos" (later to be Class 28)
 

Cowley

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The D75xx series for Class 25s started when all the D5xxx series had been used (or allocated for possible new-build members of existing classes).
The "Brush 2" series in the D58xx range were used because the D57xx block was used by the Metrovick "Co-Bos" (later to be Class 28)
I think a lot of people don’t always appreciate just how large a class the 25s were - 327 in total, and they along with the class 24s accounted for over 470 locomotives which is a huge amount considering that they weren’t even the only type 2 in town...
There were over 260 Brush type 2s as well as classes ,21,22,23,26,27,28 etc.

It must have made it easier (although maybe not at first) when TOPS was introduced and some classed disappeared off the books at the same time?
 

Karl

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A couple of examples that always confused me were the Class 37 and 47 where there was small batches of 6600 and 1100 series of numbers.
 

Helvellyn

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A couple of examples that always confused me were the Class 37 and 47 where there was small batches of 6600 and 1100 series of numbers.
The final sizes of both classes meant they simply ran out of numbers at ends of the type 4 and type 3 series - D1500-D1999 for the 47s required the final locos to be in the D11xx series; D6700-D6999 for the 37s required the final locos to be in the D66xx series.
 

Helvellyn

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Aha! I didn't think of that. It's obvious now. Thanks for the explanation :oops:
D6600-D6608 became 37300-37308, so if you know that you can work out why they were in the D66xx series.

For the 47s though it is less obvious. D1100 became 47298, numbered after D1999 that became 47297. However, D1101-D1111 were fitted with ETH befote TOPS renumbering and thus became 47518-47528. So it's bit harder to spot why the D11xx series was used.

Plus with the Class 47s D1962-D1999/D1100-D1111 were built at Crewe, but a number of the preceding Brush batch up to D1961 were the last 47s delivered. So Class 47 numbering doesn't reflect build order.
 

Taunton

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"Original" diesel numbering was actually in the steam loco series - 1xxxx was diesels and 2xxxx was electrics. It was given up as the first pilot scheme main line diesels came in but there were a lot of diesel shunters by then, some of which then were not repainted/renumbered for years afterwards. The regular "Class 08" at the goods depot at the east end of Bristol TM, still painted black, was something like 13137 well into the 1960s I recall.
Reading older magazines it's sometimes confusing to work out what modern class an article is referring to though numbers are often prefixed by something like "EE type 4" or "BR Sulzer type 3". Was there a system to numbering or did they just allocate a block of numbers when needed?
I think you will probably smile when I say that for some of us the reverse is true - what do I know this "Class 29" as? :)
 

hexagon789

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The system was affectively ammended ad-hoc as locos were built. Originally Westerns and Deltics would've been numbered in the series each other carried and a large enough series of numbers wasn't allocated to Type 4s initially hence the system going a bit 'messy'
 
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Type 4s from D1
Shunters D2000 (smaller)/D3000/4000
Type 2s from D5000 (and then 7500
Type 3s from D6500
Type 1s from D8000
Type 5 D9000 an afterthought!
Were the Class 35 Hymeks the only Type 3s whose numbers spilled over into the D70xx series, or were there any other long-withdrawn varieties?

"Original" diesel numbering was actually in the steam loco series - 1xxxx was diesels and 2xxxx was electrics. It was given up as the first pilot scheme main line diesels came in ........
That's solved a long-forgotten mystery from my old Combined Volume - why were the Woodhead electrics numbered as E26000 and E27000s, when other electric locos (what became Class 71 / 73 / 74 and 81 - 86) were the more systematic E3000, E5000 and E6000 series? Years ago, I had concluded it must have been from their LNER design origins, but obviously was early BR.
 

randyrippley

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Were the Class 35 Hymeks the only Type 3s whose numbers spilled over into the D70xx series, or were there any other long-withdrawn varieties?

only 10000-10001 and 10201-10202
10203 was arguably type 4

by the time the type 3 fleet was built nearly all the experimentation had stopped so only three designs were used: 33/35/37. Additionally a few of the class 30s were built as type 3 as experiments, with one as type 4. The three represented the three production memes that had survived the disaster of the type 2 and type 4 trials: diesel-electric Sulzer, diesel-electric EE, diesel-hydraulic Maybach. The experiments with 2-stroke engines, MAN engines, Paxman engines, Mirlees engines were rapidly abandoned and never considered for the type 3 fleet
 

Helvellyn

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only 10000-10001 and 10201-10202
10203 was arguably type 4

by the time the type 3 fleet was built nearly all the experimentation had stopped so only three designs were used: 33/35/37. Additionally a few of the class 30s were built as type 3 as experiments, with one as type 4. The three represented the three production memes that had survived the disaster of the type 2 and type 4 trials: diesel-electric Sulzer, diesel-electric EE, diesel-hydraulic Maybach. The experiments with 2-stroke engines, MAN engines, Paxman engines, Mirlees engines were rapidly abandoned and never considered for the type 3 fleet
I believe that that that the SR multiple working fitted Class 33/1s nearly became Class 34 under TOPS, but cannot work out what Class 36 was left for.
 

randyrippley

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I believe that that that the SR multiple working fitted Class 33/1s nearly became Class 34 under TOPS, but cannot work out what Class 36 was left for.

I don't think it was deliberately left, it just wasn't needed as the type 4s started at 40.
However I've always wondered if quietly some BR clerk retrospectively assigned classes to the pioneer locos so that
10000-10001 = class 36
10201-10202 = class 38
10203 = class 39

that puts the pioneer EE engined COCO design immediately before the nearest production equivalent, the 37
while the EE engined 1-COCO-1 design is immediately before its production equivalent, the 40
On the same basis I always wondered if 49 was left unused to allow for DP2, and 54 for DP1
 

Cowley

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I don't think it was deliberately left, it just wasn't needed as the type 4s started at 40.
However I've always wondered if quietly some BR clerk retrospectively assigned classes to the pioneer locos so that
10000-10001 = class 36
10201-10202 = class 38
10203 = class 39

that puts the pioneer EE engined COCO design immediately before the nearest production equivalent, the 37
while the EE engined 1-COCO-1 design is immediately before its production equivalent, the 40
On the same basis I always wondered if 49 was left unused to allow for DP2, and 54 for DP1
I don’t know if you’re correct but that’s an interesting theory. There was a class 38 planned in later (TOPS era) years of course but back then were any of the pioneers still hanging around in scrap lines while someone in an office was drawing up the plans for TOPS?

Does anyone know what year the TOPS class numbers were first worked out on paper?
 

randyrippley

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I don’t know if you’re correct but that’s an interesting theory. There was a class 38 planned in later (TOPS era) years of course but back then were any of the pioneers still hanging around in scrap lines while someone in an office was drawing up the plans for TOPS?

Does anyone know what year the TOPS class numbers were first worked out on paper?


according to Wiki all five locos were scrapped in 1968
BR apparently first became aware of TOPS in 1968, however this history (122 page pdf) says John Peyton only signed off on the purchase in late 1971 https://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/documents/BRB_TOPS1979.pdf
Every comment I can find online says TOPS went live in 1973 - except for this memoir http://www.les-smith.com/software/tops.htm
which suggests it was 1974, with just the renumbering in 1973. But an interesting comment is that TOPS didn't drive the renumbering, an earlier project did
However TOPS was not the reason for renumbering as that was the result of a BRB CM&EE (British Railway Board Chief Mechanical and Electrical Engineer) initiative of the early 1970s known as the Unique Numbering Scheme, which had a great deal to do with their introduction of a mainframe system the acronym of which was (and is) RAVERS.

So the planning for the renumbering could predate TOPS by some time
Whatever, I still have a vision of a clerk coding and allocating numbers using an out of date stock list.............after all thats partly what TOPS was for: to get the stock book straight
 
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gg1

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I don't think it was deliberately left, it just wasn't needed as the type 4s started at 40.
However I've always wondered if quietly some BR clerk retrospectively assigned classes to the pioneer locos so that
10000-10001 = class 36
10201-10202 = class 38
10203 = class 39

that puts the pioneer EE engined COCO design immediately before the nearest production equivalent, the 37
while the EE engined 1-COCO-1 design is immediately before its production equivalent, the 40
On the same basis I always wondered if 49 was left unused to allow for DP2, and 54 for DP1

I have a similar theory, slightly modified by my realisation a few years ago that, with a small handful of exceptions, the original batch of tops classes from 01 to 55 were all numbered in engine power order. On that basis the mainline diesels which never received tops classes fit neatly into the unused class numbers below. 10201-2 work equally well as either 36s or 38s so the Ivatt twins are the only real difference between our respective theories.

Class 34 10000-1 1600hp between the 1550hp 33s and 1700hp 35s.
Class 36 10201-2 - 1750bhp, same as a 37
Class 39 10203 - 2000hp same as a 40
Class 49 - DP2 - same engine as a 50
Class 54 - DP1 same engine as the production Deltics
Class 56+ (take your pick) - Kestrel at 4000hp

The only one which doesn't fit and potentially screws up this theory is 10800, as built it was between a 16 and a 17 in power (with 18 and 19 being unused at the time) but was later rebuilt with a 1400hp power unit which fall between class 30 (31s with their original Mirrlees engines) and 31
 
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Taunton

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..........after all thats partly what TOPS was for: to get the stock book straight
It's well known that TOPS was purchased from the Southern Pacific railway in the USA. Now SP locomotives never had the UK TOPS format of CC NNN where CC is the class number and NNN is the individual number from 1 upwards within that. The SP at the time used mainly 4-digit numbers; for example their GP-40 locos delivered at the time were numbered 7608-77, then a gap filled with other types before 7940-59 came, and finally the numbers went back to 7240-7. No class number scheme here. Old, new, large, small all mixed up.

So it seems to have been a BR modification to the scheme. Class numbers were permitted to start with zero, eg class 08, but individual numbers were not, which led to confusion in renumbering existing number ranges, most of which started with a zero. Sounds to me like two different systems analysts did the two halves and nobody co-ordinated it.
 

randyrippley

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The only one which doesn't fit and potentially screws up this theory is 10800, as built it was between a 16 and a 17 in power (with 18 and 19 being unused at the time) but was later rebuilt with a 1400hp power unit which fall between class 30 (31s with their original Mirrlees engines) and 31

10800 was withdrawn around 1961 and sold to Brush long before TOPS was ever imagined, early enough to come off the books before the classes were allocated. Did it ever run on BR again after Brush rebuilt it?
Same applies to 10100 which was withdrawn around 1960, also early enough to avoid being included
 

Clarence Yard

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according to Wiki all five locos were scrapped in 1968
BR apparently first became aware of TOPS in 1968, however this history (122 page pdf) says John Peyton only signed off on the purchase in late 1971 https://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/documents/BRB_TOPS1979.pdf
Every comment I can find online says TOPS went live in 1973 - except for this memoir http://www.les-smith.com/software/tops.htm
which suggests it was 1974, with just the renumbering in 1973. But an interesting comment is that TOPS didn't drive the renumbering, an earlier project did


So the planning for the renumbering could predate TOPS by some time
Whatever, I still have a vision of a clerk coding and allocating numbers using an out of date stock list.............after all thats partly what TOPS was for: to get the stock book straight

That quote is a bit wrong. My immediate boss in 1979 was at the Board (working for the CM&EE) in the late sixties and was involved in the re-classification. Prior to that there were a number of different regional ways of classifying or identifying the fleet and it was done to try and sort that all out, thus laying the ground for any further computerization. However it was a long term aim of both the CM&EE and Director of Ops to do something about the D and E number issues. But it was only the advent of TOPS that actually got the justification for a renumbering going - the TOPS project actually paid for it all, iirc from the mod advice. When the first loco (76050) was done in late 1971, it was publicly heralded by BR as the first manifestation of the forthcoming TOPS revolution.

RAVERS was a system that never got to reality at depots until the very late 1980's. Immediately before it came the LVRS system which ran as a depot only system but that only hit the depots in the mid eighties. Indeed, the class based job values that got input to both systems didn't come about until the Re-Incentive bonus scheme came in the late 1970's/early 1980's - until LVRS the weekly M&EE bonus calculation/ period workload statements (the "74/9") were manual calculations. Money for systems was tight in the 1970's and TOPS took a lot of the available spend - others had to wait their turn. The IMACS stores system only appeared in the late 1970's and was only mainframed to depots in the early to mid eighties. On ER the pilot depot for that was Lincoln. After the IMACS computer came the NPS payroll computer, thus ending the brief but unhappy OCR timesheet regime.

I believe the class numbers were actually allocated by a BRB Engineer but checked for accuracy by a senior M&EE clerk.
 
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