29 October 2021
Rhapsody in Blue Western Repaints. The Comprehensive Guide by Adrian Curtis, Track Record Press. Price: £19.99
If ever a man knew (or knows) everything worth knowing about the WR hydraulics, then it’s Adrian Curtis. It certainly is comprehensive as it relates to the painting regime undertaken by Laira (Plymouth) Depot on most of BR’s ‘Western’ Class 52 diesel-hydraulics between 1972 and 1976. Not all the 74-strong class made the Laira repaints – a dozen avoided them, and these are listed in the final chapter of this 160-page volume. All the ones which did are given at least a page to themselves (some, more). The (almost all-colour) photographs show the locomotives in just about every condition sported by their blue livery. Some will provide inspiration for some really serious weathering! Produced on good quality stock, the photographs have reproduced well in the main. A comprehensive account is written for every class member illustrated, including an embellishments applied. The research needed to get all these details right must have been incredible, though not unexpected given the author’s pedigree in these matters. Obviously, for anyone contemplating the making of models of the class, this work will be an invaluable resource, particularly if depicting the locomotives’ final years. I found the time rather depressing for the class because, even with repaints, prior to that some individuals were incredibly shabby – was this to do with Laira’s cleaning regime? The contemporary ‘Deltics’, although at times very dirty, never displayed the flayed-off paint effect seen on the last of the hydraulics. I have to say (as with most other classes), I preferred the ‘Westerns’ in their original liveries, and there must be a book out there showing these. I found this account very interesting, if rather lugubrious towards the end of the locomotives’ lives. Highly-recommended.
For more information: www.westernlocomotiveresearchsociety.com
Review: Tony Wright (BRM magazine)