Advert for Metro Vickers c1959

t14854This is an interesting advert from a 1959 Railways Illustrated magazine, showing how Stockton on Tees, was part of the modernisation plan for British Railways. the Metro Vick, CO-Bo’s, with their unusual wheel arrangement, built in the Bowesfield area, some former railway colleagues related to me that they could remember them brand new waiting for dispatch in the siding at Bowesfield Junction, though the design proved to be a poor one and did not last in service due to poor reliability.

The claim to fame with them was working the CONDOR freight service from Glasgow to London along the West Coast Main Line, which was highly publicised, even an oil painting was produced by Cuno the artist. Sadly they finished their days mostly at Carlise Upperby 12B and Carnfoth 10A, during 1966/68, I in fact saw a couple before they vanished at these depots, shame really.

Image and details courtesy of Bill Adams.

19 thoughts on “Advert for Metro Vickers c1959

  1. Just had a nostalgic visit to Valley Heights NSW rail museum & inspected 4601 electric locomotive, the first one off the line from Metropolitan Vickers Beyer Peacock Yarm Road, Stockton. They were built in 1956, one of the most powerful electric locomotive’s in the world. Something for Stockton to be proud of.


  2. Hi Harry. You have me mystified here. First your date of emigration seems to be a typo. Second are you talking about Western Australian Railways or NSW? WA railways were supplied with diesel electric locos. NSW 46 class were all electric, designed with power regeneration, to put enough power back into the line coming down the mountain, to drive the upcoming train up. I built the bogies for 4613. The 46 class was the subject of the Granville train disaster, 18 January 1977, when the loco took out the Bold St bridge supports & brought the bridge down on the first 2 carriages. It was packed with commuters, 83 lost their lives 210 injured. Probably the most infamous incident by our locomotives


    • Hi Colin I did work on the engines at metro Vick in 1952 the order was for Diesel engines for Perth in Western Australia. I lived next to the line and saw them run by every day untill the line was electrified, one engine was then sent to the railway museum near were I used to live, the track in between the rails was very dirty due to the diesel oil… a lot cleaner now with the electric trains. The time I refer to was 1986 to 1989 when I emigrated to Australia I have now returned to the UK this April hope this explains every thing to you.


      • Hi Harry. Thanks for your reply. Great to hear you are still up & running. I think you may be a few years older than me as I was an apprentice when you worked there, so you are doing well. I have lived in Sydney since 1962, would not change it for the world. Anyway wishing you & any other oldie the best of health. Cheers, Colin


  3. The main problems with the B. R. Metro-Vick locos do appear to have been with the Crossley two stroke diesel engines, rather than electrical or quality of build problems. It was one of a number of problems with early build B.R. diesel locos. Manufacturers jumping onto a perceived ‘gravy train’ often with insufficient development or trialing. The best and most successful designs were, in the main, those from established manufacturers such as English Electric. B.R. paid dearly for their frantic haste in converting to diesels. A longer period of testing and trialing would have saved them – and the taxpayer – a lot of money.


  4. Long time since I left a comment. I was an apprentice at Metro Vics. from the start of locomotive assembly. I left just before the demise, apart from 2 years national service. The last locomotive was for South African Railways, in which, I was involved in the development of the manufacturing process. Virtually building the first one & setting piece work rates. That gave me the edge being able to choose which jobs I wanted for the rest of the fleet. Our product was of quite high quality for the exported locos. The 46 class used in NSW ran for many years. I was not involved with the BR project. I assume the problems lay with the choice of diesel engine. Manufacture of which had nothing to do with Metro Vics. We only installed them. I wonder how many ex employees are still around today
    Colin Booth


      • Hi Maureen, great to know there are still some of us alive and kicking. I remember both of them, in fact, Mick was at my 21st, see if he remembers that. Question for you are Peter and Elsie Chapman still around, they both worked at Metro Vics. They were friends with my Aunty. Did Colin live in Londonderry Rd or did you both live in Fairwell Rd 1962. The memory needs a bit of a shake. Len Walker is still around, I spoke to him couple of months ago. Len was an apprentice in maintenance. We are getting a bit thin on the ground now, age might have something to do with it
        Thank you for your reply, please give my regards to both of them. If you want to contact me please ask Picture Stockton for my email. I live in Sydney, Australia.


        • Hi Colin, yes we lived opposite you in Fairwell Rd, we emigrated to Australia in Dec 1962 & returned in September 1966. We now live in Suffolk & have been here since 1978! Colin lived in Appleton Rd & went to Holy Trinity school & was in the same class as Mick Chapman. I’ll request your email address from PS & reply to your questions.


      • I worked has sheet metal worker on the locomotives for two years from 1951. To 1953 on the Australian orders. I emigrated to Australia on 1986 and lived facing the railway and often seen the same loco pass by my house till the railway was electrified. The same loco has been transferred to the railway museum near were I used to live. I have now returned to the town after thirty years in Australia


  5. Condor stood for ‘container door to door’ a service from Glasgow (Gushetfaulds) to Hendon, London inaugurated in March 1959. Running at up to 75 m.p.h. it ran from Glasgow via Beattock, Carlisle, Leeds, Sheffield and the Midland main line. It was hauled by two of the Metro-Vick locos but there were frequent substitutions by steam engines due to the unreliability of the diesels at that time. The service was an early attempt at dedicated container transport by rail in response to the growing threat of long distance road transport and the coming motorway network.


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