Class 43 NBL Warship Profile and Models

Class 43 NBL Warship

D861 'Vigilant' at Tilehurst in June 1962. ©Ben Brooksbank

The British Rail Class 43 diesel-hydraulic locomotives were built by the North British Locomotive Company (NBL) from 1960 to 1962. The class were very similar to the Class 42 'Warships' built by BR at Swindon Works. The NBL-built D800s differed mechanically from the Swindon-built batch: the Swindon locomotives used Maybach engines connected to Mekydro hydraulic transmissions whereas the NBL-built examples used MAN engines and Voith transmissions. In operational service, the NBL locomotives were less reliable than their Swindon-built cousins. Despite their many faults, figures for 1965 show the North British Warships covered a far greater annual mileage than contemporary Type 4's such as the Westerns, Peaks and Brush Type 4. Despite being their last year in service, Class 43 locomotives were still hauling long-distance passenger trains over the summer of 1971 on services between Paddington and locations in Devon. The NBL-built D800s were withdrawn before their Class 42 sisters, themselves doomed to a short life because of the decision to standardise on diesel-electric transmission for mainline locomotives. None have survived into preservation.

(Information provided via Wikipedia)

Type of Locomotive



North British Locomotive Co

Build Dates

1960 to 1962

Total Built


Tractive Effort

49,030 lbf

Power Output

1,100 bhp

Top Speed

80 mph

Wheel Configuration


Operated By

British Railways

Main Duties

Passenger services

In Service Until


Surviving Examples