ACE Trains E/39 LMS/BR 10000/10001
H. G. Ivatt’s 10000 and 10001 diesel electric locomotive designs were a technological leap forward when the first debuted from the Derby workshops in 1947 – right at the end of the LMS era. 10000 displayed the company’s livery up until March 1951 when raised LMS lettering on the side of the locomotive was eventually removed subsequent to the retirement of Ivatt. 10001 appeared in July 1948 adorned in new black British Railways livery. As experimental diesel electric traction, they were not particularly powerful units. In early trialling services out of Euston and St. Pancras from February 1948, they proved not ideal for single unit running with fast expresses or with heavily loaded passenger trains over 400 tons. In order to provide enhanced capability on heavy-weight services, they invariably operated as a pair on WCML and Midland mainlines providing the same power capability as a Class 7 locomotive. This came as the result of a major overhaul in late 1948. However, they continued to operate as single hauled units on less intensive routes and also cutting their teeth on freight services.
Aside their normal north of London duties, as can be seen from the above images, the twin locomotives also became a staple of the British Railways Southern Region Waterloo-Weymouth line. They were transferred to southern metals for trials in March 1953 to provide a direct comparison with the Southern Region 10201, 10202 and 10203 experimental locomotives. The twins in their early crest semi-gloss black, silver roof and waistband livery were regular fixtures, along with steam traction, hauling the prestigious The Royal Wessex service, introduced in May 1951 as part of the Festival of Britain initiatives. The train possessed the latest Mk I blood and custard liveried stock as well as single Bulleid buffet and restaurant carriages for this high-status service. In the Spring of 1955, the twins plus the three Southern Region locomotives were transferred to Derby where they were overhauled and repainted in British Railways Brunswick green livery; they then operated out of Euston on the London Midland Region. Double-headed 10000 and 10001 became synonymous operating as a pair on premier Anglo-Scottish express services such as The Royal Scot.
In the early 1960s 10000 and 10001 were moved to Willesdon until laid up at Derby in 1963. 10001 continued to be operational using parts from 10000 until withdrawn in 1966 and its eventually scrapping. 10000 spent her last days on display at Derby until the original locomotive was scrapped at the same time as her sister 10001 in January 1968. Both trail-blazing units had clocked up over two million miles in their operational lives. Since 2011 the Ivatt Diesel Recreation Society has initiated plans to build from scratch and operate what was Britain’s first mainline diesel electric locomotive. Their ventures, using a combination of on-going parts (which includes a 1940s Mk I English Electric 16SVT diesel engine and surviving 1950s bogies) as well as new build components, to ‘recreate the legend’ are now well advanced. The ACE Trains liveries, including the provision of a dummy locomotive and headboard, provide the perfect opportunity to refashion these well-known expresses with standard scale O gauge running.