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British Rail Class 23 Diesel Locomotive

Read more about the iconic ‘Baby Deltics’ and the reasons behind their withdrawal from service in the early 1970s.

Baby Deltics

The British Rail Class 23 Diesel Locomotive was built in a small production run by English Electric in 1959. These Bo-Bo configuration diesel-electric locos featured a single Napier Deltic engine rather than two as used in the Class 55 'Deltic', and were therefore nicknamed the ‘Baby Deltics’.


Working in and around London from the late 1950s onwards, they initially proved unreliable, with a high number of engine changes needed. After being moved to Stratford around 1963, their engines were modified and reliability improved.


The engines were eventually withdrawn between 1968 and 1971 after just 12 years in service. Sadly, because only a handful were originally made, none have survived to preservation.


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The Baby Deltic Project

Posted on Friday 12th August 2011 | 5:14 PM

To rectify the situation where all the Baby Deltics were scrapped, a group of enthusiasts are converting a class 37 into a baby Deltic with a Napier Deltic engine. There progress can be followed at http://www.thebabydelticproject.co.uk/rfgd

Andrew Wright

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