Remembering Class 50 Bulwark

Thirty years ago today (on January 23 1985), British Rail Engineering Limited released 50041 Bulwark back into traffic following a substantial rebuild.

The Class 50 had been badly damaged in a derailment at London Paddington in November 1983, while hauling the 2135 Penzance-London Paddington Sleeper train.

The ‘50’ slid for 100 metres, with its bogies ripped from underneath. It smashed into the ramp of Platform 8. Miraculously the driver escaped serious injury, while three passengers were hospitalised.

The Class 50 was taken to Doncaster Works and, following assessment, authorisation was given to repair it. The ‘50’ began its journey to Yorkshire on January 17 1984, but it would be January 4 1985 before it hauled a train (a test trip from Doncaster to Newcastle).

The locomotive would survive in traffic until April 1990, when it was withdrawn from the NSSA pool at Laira. It was scrapped by Coopers Metals at Old Oak Common in July 1991.

The coverage here is from RAIL in January 1984, and shows our on-scene access the day after the accident. RAIL.

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  • Robert Watt - 20/08/2021 12:04

    During that week I was on holiday from Glasgow Rail Traffic Control; I spent it travelling around Britain (by rail of course!), visiting friends and family. I visited an uncle in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, and he said "What did you think of that derailment down in London, Bob?" "What was that then?" Well, it was the one in this article of course". I was somewhat astonished - I'd been in the same service the night before!

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  • Roy K - 18/02/2022 15:49

    I was on duty in Paddington Control that night. I was the first engineer on site and had to give evidence at the enquiry. 'A night to remember'. Found this while researching for the book I am writing.

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