BR Class 50 50049 Defiance

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BRBritish Rail or British Railways Class 50 50049 Defiance
50049 20160416.jpg
50049 Defiance returning to service in 2016
Built By English Electric Vulcan Foundry Works, Newton-le-Willows
Configuration Co-Co
Power type Diesel Electric
Status In service
Loco Number 50049
Other Numbers D449
Built 1968
Designed By English Electric
Type Class 50
1991 Purchased by Project Defiance
1999 Arrived on SVRSevern Valley Railway
2016 Reentered service from overhaul
Length 68ft 6"
Weight 115t

Diesel Locomotives

50049 Defiance is a BRBritish Rail or British Railways Class 50 diesel locomotive owned and operated by The Class 50 Alliance. A brief description and history of the class can be found on the 50007 page.

50049 Defiance in service

D449 entered service at Stoke in December 1968. Renumbered to 50049 in January 1973, the locomotive moved to Bristol in May 1974.

In May 1978, 50049 was named Defiance after the Royal Navy's torpedo school.

In 1987, 50049 was involved in an experiment to use Class 50 locomotives on freight trains. To that end it was re-numbered as 50149, equipped with modified Class 37 lower-geared bogies, and out-shopped in trainload grey livery with Railfreight decals. Based at Plymouth Laira, two years was spent working china clay trains in Cornwall and heavy stone trains from Devon quarries to London. By 1989 the locomotive has reverted to 50049, being withdrawn from service by BRBritish Rail or British Railways in August 1991.

50049 Defiance in preservation

50049 was bought for preservation by 'The Class 50 Society', later re-named Project Defiance.[1] Following an overhaul at AWSAutomatic Warning System, a form of limited cab signalling introduced in 1956 in Cardiff, it moved to the West Somerset Railway where it was repainted into the Railfreight Distribution two tone grey livery as 50149. Defiance left the WSR to attend the SVRSevern Valley Railway Diesel Gala in 1999, and remained at the SVRSevern Valley Railway thereafter. A year later, in BRBritish Rail or British Railways Blue livery as D449, it participated in its first mainline with 50031 Hood (as D431) on the Celtic Hoover Railtour in September 2000.

In 2005, 50031 and 50049 were on long term hire to Arriva Trains Wales (ATW), for use on special services in connection with events at the Millennium Stadium, and over the summer period saw regular use on the Monday to Saturday "Fishguard Flyer" from Cardiff to Fishguard and return, in connection with the ferry sailing to Ireland. One of the two locomotives was used for the service each day, along with 4 Mark 2 coaches.[2]

In November 2006 shareholders in Project Defiance agreed to a merger with The Fifty Fund, owners of two other Class 50s and operators of a third, to form The Class 50 Alliance. Ownership of 50049 passed to the new organisation.

After a railtour on 18 October 2008, Defiance underwent a bogie and wheelset overhaul.The loco was taken out of traffic in 2013 following the discovery of leaking cylinder liners. A top end power unit rebuild was carried out, along with replacement of the main and ETHElectric Train Heating generators with overhauled ones.[3] 50049 completed its overhaul in April 2016 in time to work passenger services during the April 'Open House' weekend.

At the Class 50 Golden Jubilee on October 6 2018 it was formally rededicated at Kidderminster by Commodore Robert Bellfield, Royal Navy, Commander Devonport Flotilla, Devonport Dockyard – the former home to training base HMS Defiance.

On 20 March 2019 freight operator GB Railfreight and The Class 50 Alliance unveiled 50007 Hercules and 50049 into GBRfGB Railfreight, a main line rail freight operating company. livery, with the locomotives available to operate selected GBRfGB Railfreight, a main line rail freight operating company. trains on a ‘spot-hire’ basis.[4][5] In 2024 it required some cab side repairs, before a repaint into BRBritish Rail or British Railways Blue large logo livery.[6]

The Fifty Fund produced a limited edition N gauge model[7].

50049 Defiance on the main line in preservation

An incomplete list of main line appearances is as follows:

Date Tour name Tour Operator Route Notes Reference
16 September 2000 Celtic Hoover With 50031 Hood (as D431)
27 November 2004 The Yorkshire Royale Pathfinder Cardiff-Derby (detached/reattached)-York (steam) With 50031 Hood and 6233 Duchess of Sutherland [8]
4 March 2005 The Monarch Of The Glen Pathfinder With 50031 Hood [8]
12 March 2005 The West Somerset Wanderer Pathfinder Chester to Minehead With 6024 King Edward 1 [8]
29 May 2005 The Pixies Revenge Pathfinder Banbury to Penzance With 50031 Hood [8]
1 October 2005 The Devonshire Riviera Express Steamy Affairs Northampton to Kingswear With 50031 Hood and 60009 Union of South Africa [8]
25 March 2006 The Redmire Rambler Pathfinder Cardiff to Redmire With 50031 Hood [8]
16-19 June 2006 The Orcadian Pathfinder Swindon to Inverness, Kyle of Lochalsh, Wick and Thurso With 50031 Hood [8]
16 December 2006 The Airean Raider Pathfinder Cardiff to Leeds With 50031 Hood [8]
12 May 2007 The Pompey-Vectis Explorer Vintage Trains Tyseley to Havant The loco failed at Elstree and the tour was cancelled [8]
3 June 2007 The Bristol Coal-Stone Haul Bristol and Portbury, Avonmouth, Tytherington, Westerleigh and Severn Beach With 31105 and 31285. Tour in support of the Railway Children charity [8]
18 August 2007 Airbourne Eastbourne Vintage Trains Tyseley to Eastbourne With 57601 [8]
4 November 2007 Valley Aid North York Moors Railway Whitby-Battersby NYMR staged the "Valley aid" benefit gala to raise funds for the SVRSevern Valley Railway repairs after the 2007 Storm Damage [9]
8 December 2007 The Lincoln Marketeer Pathfinder Salisbury to Barnetby via the East Coast Main Line and via Leicester and the Midland Main Line (MML) for the return [8]
10 May 2008 The Purbeck And Weymouth Explorer Vintage Trains Birmingham Moor Street to Weymouth With 47773 [8]
18 October 2008 Rail Blue Charters Manchester Piccadilly to Minehead With 50044 Exeter and 57601. 50049's final railtour before a bogie and wheelset overhaul [10]
19 November 2011 The Edinburgh Explorer II Spitfire Preston to Edinburgh With 50044 Exeter and 57001 [11]
7 October 2017 The Caledonian Pathfinder Crewe-Glasgow With 50007 Hercules [12]
14 April 2018 Cumbrian Hoovers Pathfinder Birmingham - Settle & Carlisle - Carlisle returning via Cumbrian Coast Charity railtour, with 50007 Hercules [13]
23 June 2018 Mazey Day Cornishman Pathfinder Tame Bridge Parkway - Penzance (50s From/to Worcester) With 50007 Hercules, the pair running as numbers 50006/11
5 January 2019 The Waverley Re-Union Pathfinder Birmingham (via Carlisle) to Edinburgh and Tweedbank With 50007 Hercules
23 March 2019 The Terminator – Phoenixed Pathfinder London Paddington to Penzance and return to Waterloo With 50007 Hercules
26 August 2019 The Cotswold Eden Pathfinder Didcot to Carlisle With 50007 Hercules


See also

Diesel Locomotives
List of preservation groups
SVR-based diesel locomotives visiting other events
Locomotives running under different identities
Models of the Severn Valley Railway


  1. Fifty Fund history
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Fifty Fund (retrieved 21 January 2018)
  4. Class 50 Alliance, 15 January 2019
  5. GB Railfreight Facebook 20 March 2019
  6. Class 50 Alliance, 10 and 27 April 2024 (Retrieved 17 May 2024)
  7. The Fifty Fund website (Retrieved 17 May 2024)
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 website (Retrieved 21 January 2018)
  9. Renown Repulse Restoration Group website (Retrieved 21 January 2018)
  10. Loader Photography (Retrieved 21 January 2018)
  11. Hart M., ‘English Electric Class 40, 50 & 55 Diesel Locomotives’, Amberley Publishing Limited, April 2014
  12. YouTube (Retrieved 21 January 2018)
  13. Fifty Fund website (Retrieved 21 January 2018)


Class 50 Alliance/Fifty Fund web site