Published: Friday, 10 juli 2020

Locomotive 1501 in the Dutch Railway Museum

Foto: Archief Stichting NVBS Railverzamelingen.On May 6 2020 it was 50 years ago that the first locomotive of the 1500 series was delivered to NS. Our Railway Museum is paying attention to this "anniversary" by temporarily placing the locomotive in the museum. The 1501 was preserved thanks to the initiative of a group of Rotterdam train drivers and refurbished by the members of the 1501 working group, together with members of the Classic Locomotives Foundation.

Foto: Archief Stichting NVBS Railverzamelingen.Because the Manchester - Sheffield (Woodhead line, named after the tunnel halfway down the line) was the only line in England with 1500 volts DC, separate equipment had to be developed for it. The prototype, which entered service in 1940 (numbered LNER 6701), was stored after a number of test drives in connection with the Second World War. On 3 September 1947 the now LNER 6000 numbered locomotive was transferred to the Netherlands on a rental basis. For example, the LNER could help the NS to carry out the timetable and NS would subject the locomotive to practical tests, which the LNER was unable to do. The locomotive was soon nicknamed Tommy.
Partly based on the practical experience gained in the Netherlands, in addition to 57 locomotives of the type later known as EM1, there were also 6-axle locomotives type EM2. Originally planned 27, but during construction it was decided to stick to seven pieces. The first locomotive, the E27000, entered service in September 1954, soon followed by the other six. The EM2 locomotives ran on the Woodhead line mentioned above from 1954 to October 1968. With the disappearance of coal transport, they were no longer needed.

To the Netherlands

The NS was urgently looking for new pulling forces in the context of Spoorslag '70. An employee of British Rail pointed NS to the seven locomotives EM2. On August 20, 1969, a delegation from the NS made a test drive with the E27002 and based on the results, NS decided to take over the locomotives. The E27002 left for the Netherlands first and on October 7, 1969 the locomotive drove a test drive Utrecht - Arnhem, after which a number of test drives followed. NS wanted to have the first locomotive refurbished in the summer of 1970. And it was 8 May, now just over 50 years ago, when the 1501 (the former 27003) was delivered and put into service on 12 June 1970.


Foto: Archief Stichting NVBS Railverzamelingen.The locomotives received a major overhaul in Tilburg. This included the installation of ATB and the vacuum brake used in England was replaced by the conventional pressure brake. The pantographs were replaced by type Faiveley AM-30 pantographs that are common in the Netherlands. The steering positions were moved from left to right, a requirement that was canceled in the later 1600 series. Electric train heating, sand spreaders, slip protection and other front and tail lights were installed. The bogies were strengthened and adapted to accommodate the brake pads. The E27005 served as a picking station for the other six locomotives. The purchase and "associated" overhaul for the six locomotives amounted to 1.788.000 guilders.

Technical data

The locomotives were built by British Railway Works at Gorton in 1953. The electrical part was built by Metropolitan - Vickers. They had a length of 17,983 meters and a weight of 98 tons. The locomotive had 6 traction motors, type MV 146, which provided a power of 300 kW. Total continuous power was 1,800 kW, with a maximum of 2,058 kW. The gear ratio is 17:64, the wheel diameter was 1,100 mm and the minimum curve radius was 120 meters. The maximum service speed was 135 km/h, although they were designed for 140 km/h.


The locomotives entered service in England in black, shortly afterwards repainted in 'Brunswick Green'. In 1960 the color turned light blue. The E27000, E27001, E27003 and E27005 remained green and thus also arrived in the Netherlands. The other locomotives were blue upon arrival in the Netherlands. At the NS they came on the track in the familiar yellow-gray.
They were the first locomotives in this color scheme. The numbers on the 1501 were initially only applied to the sides of the cabins, later the numbers also appeared on the front. As was usual in England, the locomotives had a name, in this case names of different goddesses. The 1501 (former 27003) was named Diana.

Service deployment

The 1500s were mainly deployed on the Rotterdam (later The Hague) - Venlo (- Cologne) relationship. The trains initially consisted of Plan D, Plan K and Plan N carriages, supplemented with steel D's, later replaced by the new ICR. The locomotives could also be seen for D trains that ran from Hoek van Holland. In this way, they also came to Utrecht for maintenance and via freight trains to Roermond or Susteren also in Maastricht.

Farewell and disposal

Foto: Archief Stichting NVBS Railverzamelingen.The locomotives were put aside as of the summer timetable on 30 June 1986. A lot of farewell rides were driven with great interest. On April 30, 1986 the Queensday ride of the NVBS with the 1505 and seven carriages was Plan E.
On June 14, 1986, the farewell ride of the farewell rides took place, organized by the EM2 Locomotive Society. All four locomotives had been refurbished for this day in Tilburg. The rides were arranged throughout almost the entire country and also ran together with the SSN steam locomotive 65 018. The highlight of this ride was a line up in Boxtel. The first locomotive is "plukloc" E27005 demolished. As the only locomotive of the last remaining four locomotives, the 1503 was scrapped in Tilburg at the end of November 1986.

Museum locomotives

Three 1500s have been preserved. The 1501 in the Netherlands and two others in England. The 1502 is on display at the EM2 Locomotive Society at the Midland Railway Center Butterley in Derbyshire and is now displayed in black. The 1505 is in NS livery at the Greater Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, located in Manchester's oldest railway station. During the transfer, it was established that the locomotive should not be painted in any other color scheme than the NS house style.

Working group 1501

The 1501 has been preserved in the Netherlands thanks to the initiative of a group of Rotterdam train drivers who founded the 'working group 1501' to be able to store the locomotive and use it for special journeys. On 11 December 1986 the locomotive was parked at the Feijenoord line workshop and was finally taken over from the NS in April 1987. The 1501 is currently awaiting further development in the museum workshop in Blerick.

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