Class 35 (Type 3) Hymek
Class: Class 35 (Type 3) Hymek
Designer: Beyer Peacock
Weight: 75 tons
Purpose: Mixed Traffic
Information: Entering traffic in May 1961, the Type 3 design was envisaged by Western Region management as the ultimate replacement of 333 members of the Hall and Grange class steam locomotives. The Type 3’s were nick-named Hymek’s, in recognition of the hydraulic Maybach transmissions employed. The locomotives were later classified Class 35 under TOPS.
Details: By January 1959 management of the Western Region were planning the eventual replacement for steam. As such, it was envisaged the numerous mixed traffic Hall’s and Grange’s would be replaced with a Type 3 diesel hydraulic design while type 4 designs would replace the express passenger trains entrusted to Castles and Kings.
Contracts were let by BR to Beyer Peacock (BP). In turn, BP formed joint partnerships with Metropolitan-Vickers and Bristol Siddley (British licensee of the German Maybach hydraulic transmission) to build the locomotives. Much emphasis was placed on shape and livery by contemporary management.
Type 3 Hymek’s entered traffic between May 1961 and December 1964. Only 101 locomotives were ultimately constructed, far short of the anticipated numbers required as direct replacements for the fast disappearing steam locomotives. The mantle of mixed traffic locomotive ultimately fell on the other Type 3 being introduced to the Western Region at the time, the Class 37. Prime factors working against the Class 35’s were two-fold, the later deemed non-standard hydraulic transmission and the locomotives light weight.
Capable performers, in service the Class were capable of 90-MPH top speed. Indeed many Class 1 express services were performed by Hymek’s, including the “Welsh Dragon” and “Pembroke Coast Express”. Unfortunately, prone to early transmission failure the class would not succeed as the ideal mixed traffic locomotive management had envisaged. After several years of adjustment and experimentation early problems were eventually resolved. The weight of the locomotive also worked against the success of the design. Nearly 30% lighter than the Class 37, the 35’s could accelerate well making the locomotives suitable for passenger work , while the lighter weight worked against it in braking of heavy unfitted coal and goods traffic still prevalent in the 1960’s.
After the fore-mentioned transmission problems were resolved the class saw service through-out the Western Region. Although uncommon in the far reaches of Cornwall, the class was active in other areas lesser associated with the WR, such as the former S&DJR and in banking duties on the Lickey incline at Bromgrove.
As with many early diesel designs; the class received a great deal of attention with regard to aesthetics. After much debate and consideration by committee the class was eventually out-shopped in Brunswick green livery with a lower light green band, white window surrounds, and grey roofs. By 1964 small yellow warning panels were added for improved visibility. During the mid-1960’s, in line with then current BR policy locomotives were repainted Corporate blue with full yellow ends and window surrounds.
By 1974 the hydraulic transmission had been deemed non-standard and led to the class being completely withdrawn from service by 1975. Four locomotives survive in preservation. Ironically, one of the early squabbles of the design committee members appointed, being the stylish lines of the 35’s has endeared the class to many enthusiasts and they remain favourites among the first generation diesel designs of BR.