Diesel Dawn 7 - Western Region Class 14
By John Jennison
Diesel Hydraulic 0-6-0s
These locomotives enjoyed striking 'continental' good looks with, strangely, more than a nod to preceding steam design; for this they were regarded fondly by enthusiasts and they earned the somewhat fanciful and inexplicable nickname 'Teddy Bears'.
Sadly, performance did not match these fond feelings and as well as proving disappointing technically, the steam age duties for which they were designed were, to BR's consternation, rapidly disappearing.
British Railways sold them off after a few years but despite such an unprepossessing – ignominious some might say – career many nevertheless saw many years of work in private industry including, famously, the Channel Tunnel.
Remarkably, over a third of the class passed into preservation, an unprecedented proportion and paradoxically they can now be found at work, daily, the length and breadth of the country.