45041 “Royal Tank Regiment”

Class 45 45041 "Royal Tank Regiment"
45041 was built at Crewe Works in 1962 and was released into traffic on 25th June, 1962 and based at Derby. The locomotive carried the number D53 and was initially painted in green livery and carried a split centre headcode. On 24th September, 1964 the locomotive was named “Royal Tank Regiment” at Derby Works with no formal ceremony and above the nameplates the Royal Tank Regimental crest was carried. D53 was used on a variety of passenger and freight duties throughout the 1960s.

During a visit to Derby Works for refurbishment in 1967 D53 lost its green livery in favour of the new corporate blue livery and its headcode was changed to a full four character version. The locomotive was fitted with air train brakes in 1968 continuing in its role of a mixed traffic locomotive before being re-numbered to 45041 in May, 1975.

A further change to 45041’s headcode occurred in March, 1979 when the headcode mechanisms were removed from the nose ends and these were replaced with marker lights. 45041’s final works overhaul occurred during 1985 with the locomotive re-entering traffic in August of that year without its nameplates fitted.

45041 was used predominantly on freight trains during the 1980s as it was not one of the 50 Class 45s that were selected to be converted to supply electric train heat (ETH) in the mid 1970s and 45041’s boiler was isolated in the late 1970s being one of the first of the class to lose its train heating capability.

45041 suffered a traction motor problem whilst working a stone train from Peak Forest to Leeds and was taken out of service on 18th May, 1988. 45041 was sent to Thornaby depot for assessment but it was condemned and was taken out of service on 8th June, 1988.

Thornaby depot became the locomotive’s home until January, 1994 when it was moved to Crewe Heritage Centre having been purchased for preservation by locomotive collector Pete Waterman. It was displayed at Crewe Works Open day in August, 1994 and at the Crewe Railfair event in August, 1995 although no restoration work was undertaken on 45041.

The locomotive was purchased from Pete Waterman by the Peak Locomotive Company in February, 1996 and had bodywork repairs and a complete repaint so that it could be re-dedicated by the Reverend Bernard Baines, the Royal Tank Regiment Padre at Crewe Works Open Day on 17th August, 1996. Following the Open Day, the locomotive was moved to Crewe Electric Depot where it had its tyres turned before being hauled over the main line to the Midland Railway Centre.

Restoration work began upon its arrival at the Midland Railway Centre alongside the groups other locomotives (at the time); Class 44 D4 “Great Gable” and Class 46 D182. 45041 made its debut in preservation on 28th September, 2002 and subsequently visited diesel events at the East Lancs Railway and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway as well as making a return visit to Crewe Works for an Open Day in September, 2005.

The locomotive was repainted once again into BR Blue livery with Full Yellow ends in September, 2010 and the owning group have plans to re-instate the locomotive’s train heating capability at some point in the future following an overhaul of its train heating boiler.

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