British Rail Class 44

The British Rail Class 44 or Sulzer Type 4 diesel locomotives were built by British Railways' Derby Works between 1959 and 1960. They were named after British mountains, and consequently nicknamed Peaks.

Derby Type 4
British Rail Class 44
44010 "Tryfan" heads a freight train on the Birmingham-Peterborough line, in Leicestershire, April 1976.
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderBritish RailwaysDerby Works
Build date1959–1960
Total produced10
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Wheel diameter3 ft 9 in (1.143 m)
Minimum curve5 chains (100 m)
Wheelbase59 ft 8 in (18.19 m)
Length67 ft 11 in (20.70 m)
Width8 ft 10 12 in (2.71 m)
Height12 ft 10 in (3.91 m)
Loco weight133 long tons (135 t; 149 short tons)
Fuel capacity840 imp gal (3,800 l; 1,010 US gal)
Prime moverSulzer 12LDA28-A
Engine typeDiesel
GeneratorCrompton Parkinson GC426-A1
Traction motorsSix Crompton Parkinson C171-B1
MU working Blue Star
Train heatingSteam
Train brakesVacuum
Performance figures
Maximum speed75 mph (121 km/h)
Power outputEngine: 2,300 bhp (1,715 kW)
At rail: 1,800 hp (1,342 kW)
Tractive effortMaximum: 50,000 lbf (222 kN)
Brakeforce63 long tons-force (628 kN)
OperatorsBritish Railways
NumbersD1–D10; later 44001–44010
Axle load classRoute availability 7
DispositionTwo preserved, remainder scrapped


In part inspired by LMS prototypes 10000 and 10001, and by Southern Railway 10201-10203, the Class 44 diesels were some of the first big diesels commissioned for the British Rail modernisation project and were the precursors to the Class 45 and Class 46 locomotives of similar design. The allocation of all ten locomotives in March 1974 was Toton.[1]


A Sulzer 12LDA28-A diesel engine drove a Crompton Parkinson GC426-A1 main generator which supplied power to six Crompton Parkinson C171-B1 traction motors.[2]

Train heating

When initially put into service, the locomotives were fitted with multi-unit working and steam heating boilers for passenger service. They worked regularly over the West Coast Main Line for a couple of years, and also between London St Pancras and Manchester Exchange.

Freight service

Once the Class 45 units were available, the steam heating boilers were removed and the Class 44 locomotives were assigned to freight duties. They mostly operated in the East Midlands, all being based at Toton until 1980.

Fleet details

Numbers Name Withdrawn Disposal details
D1 44001 Scafell Pike October 1976 Scrapped at Derby Works (February 1977)
D2 44002 Helvellyn February 1979 Scrapped at Derby Works (October 1979)
D3 44003 Skiddaw July 1976 Scrapped at Derby Works (August 1976)
D4 44004 Great Gable November 1980 Preserved at Midland Railway – Butterley
D5 44005 Cross Fell April 1978 Scrapped at Derby Works (November 1978)
D6 44006 Whernside January 1977 Scrapped at Derby Works (February 1978)
D7 44007 Ingleborough November 1980 Scrapped at Derby Works (November 1981)
D8 44008 Penyghent November 1980 Preserved at Peak Rail, Matlock, Derbyshire
D9 44009 Snowdon March 1979 Scrapped at Derby Works (July 1980)
D10 44010 Tryfan May 1977 Scrapped at Derby Works (July 1978)


Two locomotives have survived to preservation.

(Current in bold)
Name Livery Location Image Notes
D4 44004 Great Gable BR Blue Midland Railway - Butterley Owning group Peak Locomotive Company
D8 44008 Penyghent BR Green Peak Rail Privately owned


  1. British Railways Locoshed Book 1974 edition. Shepperton: Ian Allan. 1974. p. 30. ISBN 0-7110-0558-3.
  2. "class 44, D1, 44001, scafell pike, BR Sulzer Type 4". Retrieved 24 July 2012.

Further reading

  • Harris, Roger (1985). The Allocation History of BR Diesels and Electrics (2nd ed.). Bromsgrove: Roger Harris.
  • McManus, Michael. Ultimate Allocations, British Railways Locomotives 1948 - 1968. Wirral. Michael McManus.
  • Jacob, Michael (October 1982). "Water, water everywhere...". Rail Enthusiast. EMAP National Publications. pp. 28–31. ISSN 0262-561X. OCLC 49957965.
  • Kerry, Mike (November 1986). "Spectacular Stuff!". Rail Enthusiast. No. 62. EMAP National Publications. pp. 36–39. ISSN 0262-561X. OCLC 49957965.
  • Webb, Brian (1978). Sulzer Diesel Locomotives of British Rail. David & Charles. ISBN 0715375148.

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