The BR Class 28 Locomotive, A Relic of the British Railway

The BR Class 28 is one of the oldest diesel locomotives used in the British railways. It is known as a diesel-electric locomotive. The train had an unusual configuration of its wheelbase and did not quite fit the bill for replacing the old steam engines.

The history of the BR Class 28

The BR Class 28 was initially constructed in 1954 under the pilot scheme. They were called the Metropolitan Vickers, and BR Class 28 belonged to Type 2 of this category.

A total of 20 of them were constructed and deployed in late 1954. It did not have a good start. To be fair, it never had a good headline on the news. It was filled with flaws.

For example, the front windshield pops out mid transportation which creates issues for the driver. That was solved by replacing the curved windshield with a flat front-facing windshield.

Then there are the problems with the engine. The engines were filled with issues. They break down mid-operation, cheating problems, and delays in transportation. Moreover, they are too noisy.

The fact that there are no valves in the engine makes them more prone to breakdown from fumes.
The entire class of the BR class 28 and other Metropolitan Vickers were withdrawn just after 11 years of service. Among the 20 locomotives, only one survived the scrapping procedure. It was accidentally hidden by a private company as it was renumbered and used for their reasons.

But now that one BR Class 28 is under the control of East Lancashire Railway Diesel Group, and they are working on a full restoration.

Inside the BR Class 28

Inside the BR Class 28, we have a diesel engine, a dynamo, and many electrical components. There are two pilot rooms, one on each end.

The engine used in the BR Class 28 is a V8 two-stroke engine. The Crossley HST V8 was chosen for this locomotive.

As a general sense, we all know that two-stroke engines are not a good fit for locomotives. Yes, but this decision was made mainly because of Oliver Bulleid, a British railway and mechanical engineer of that time.

The engine had no valves. The inlet and exhaust were done via ports from the cylinder walls.

The power output of this engine was 1200 horsepower. With this horsepower, the BR Class 28 could reach a top speed of 75 mph.

The unusual fact about the BR Class 28 is its wheel arrangement. It has a Combo arrangement. The C side has a 6-wheel bogie and the Bo end has a two-wheel bogie. The reason is that this type of wheelbase minimizes the risk of wheel slip.

But the result of all was a failure. The engine was the main problem. Moreover, there were better locomotives in the market, so the BR Class 28 was withdrawn in 1967.

Are there other versions of BR Class 28?

There are two other versions of the BR Class 28. The BR Class 28 was part of the Metropolitan Vickers. There were three types. Type A, Type B, and Type C (Later renamed Type 1, Type 2, and Type 4).

BR Class 28 as we know it was Type 2. So yes, there are two other versions of the BR Class 28.

What is the current status of BR Class 28 locomotives?

There was a total of 20 BR Class 28 locomotives and 19 of them were scrapped. Only one remains and it is in preservation under the East Lancashire Railway Diesel Group. This group is working on restoring this locomotive.
No future use of this locomotive has been decided yet.

What Engine is in the BR Class 28?

The BR Class 28 has a Crossley HST V8 two-stroke diesel engine. A dynamo was mounted with this engine fr generating electrical power for all the electrical components.

How long is a BR Class 28?

The BR Class 28 locomotive was 17.30 meters long. Its height is 3.72 meters.

How many BR Class 28 are there?

There were a total of 20 BR CLass 28 and its other versions. Now only one of them is available and going under restoration process.

How much Horsepower does a BR Class 28 have?

The Crossley HST V8 two-stroke diesel engine of the BR Class 28 can produce 12000 Horsepower and it can reach up to 75 mph with it.

What does a BR Class 28 weigh?

The weight of the BR Class 28 is 97 tons.

How much does BR Class 28 cost?

The BR Class 28 locomotive is not for sale. Moreover, it is going under the process of restoration. So no actual value of this locomotive is not published yet.


And that’s what we know about the BR Class 28. It is truly a relic, as only one of them has remained in the world. Will that one BR Class 28 locomotive make it into the main railways? Only time will tell.

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