Operational Status: Operational (On Hire to West Coast Railways)
Steam Heat Boiler: Isolated
Livery: British Railways Green with Half Yellow ends)
Running Number: D345
Mainline Registered: Yes
40145 was the first locomotive of the final delivery batches, constructed with centre-headcode panels. Along with 180 of the 200-strong fleet, the loco was built by English Electric at Vulcan Foundry, entering service on 17th May 1961. D345 was one of four (D345 to D348) which were allocated to 55H Neville Hill, and used to upgrade the short-lived ‘Queen of Scots Pullman’ running between Leeds and Edinburgh / Glasgow, replacing L.N.E.R. Pacific steam power. She was subsequently reallocated in Jan. 1963 to 50A York, Jan. 1967 to 56B Healey Mills, Oct. 1969 to 52A Gateshead, Feb. 1976 to Healey Mills, Oct. 1976 to Gateshead, March 1978 to Haymarket, and finally in May 1978 to Longsight. She was based at Longsight until withdrawal on 10th June 1983 after sustaining derailment damage in Stourton Yard, Leeds. Fortunately, this was one of the final Class 40’s to receive a General Overhaul at Crewe Works in November 1980. 40145 was purchased and delivered to Bury in February 1984, the first Class 40 to enter preservation.
The loco has since undergone extensive repairs to the derailment damage, bogies, springs, and an axle. Various sections of bodywork were also re-panelled, followed by a full repaint into corporate Rail Blue in 1994. The standard of this work and the relatively short time between works overhaul and withdrawal leaves 40145 as one of the best diesel locomotives in preservation. She has always been a consistent and reliable performer on the ELR, and won the title ‘Best Presented Preserved Locomotive’ at the 1995 Crewe Railfair.
40145 visited the West Somerset Railway for their September 1995 Diesel Weekend, where she proved very popular. This was the first time a Class 40 had ever been on the line. In autumn 1999, 40145 revisited the WSR, followed by visits to Severn Valley Railway and the North Yorkshire Moors.
Steam heating was restored to the loco early in 1996, including the ‘transplant’ of D335’s Clayton steam heat generator. Again, this required the re-manufacture of boiler water tanks from scratch, as those fitted to the loco for cosmetic reasons (ex 40172) were too corroded. As with D335’s water tanks, this was contracted to Riley & Son (E) Ltd., based on site at ELR.
40145 was repainted again in summer 1997 into original all-over Dark Brunswick Green, returning to running number D345.
The loco gained a certificate for mainline operation on 28th October 2002. As promised twelve months beforehand, D345 hauled her first mainline railtour since preservation on 30th November 2002 – “The Christmas Cracker IV”.