British Railways diesel electric locomotive AIA-AIA Class 31, No D5500 (31018), 1957

1957 in Loughborough
Brush Electrical Engineering Company Limited

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BR A-1-A-A-1-A Diesel Electric Class 31 No D5500 (Brush) - 1989.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Diesel electric locomotive, No D5500 (31018), Class 31, AIA-AIA, British Railways, built by Brush Electrical Engineering Company at Loughborough in 1957, withdrawn in 1976. Originally known as the Brush Type 2. Length over buffers: 56' 9"; width: 8' 9".

D5500 was the first locomotive built by Brush Electrical Engineering Company for British Railways under their 1955 Modernisation Plan. Ultimately, the Plan’s aim was to replace steam locomotives with diesel and electric traction.

The engines in the Class 31 locomotives proved unreliable and in the 1960s were replaced with engines produced by English Electric. The new engine provided 1470 HP, an improvement on the 1250 HP of the original Mirrlees twelve-cylinder supercharged engine.

The locomotives were originally known as Class 30. Those which were re-engined then became Class 31. Further sub-classes also exist; Class 31/0 refers to the first twenty Brush type locomotives built, numbered D5500 - D5519.

The Class 31/0 locomotives were nicknamed ‘Toffee Apples’ due to the shape of their control key which had to be moved from one cab to the other when changing ends.

After it was withdrawn in July 1976, D5500 was restored in Doncaster. The locomotive has operated on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

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National Railway Museum: Great Hall

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Related people


Locomotives and Rolling Stock
length over buffers: 17297 mm,
width: 2667 mm
diesel locomotive
  • vehicles and vehicle components
  • vehicle
  • locomotive
  • electric locomotive
British Rail, Add. not known
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