About us ...
The Diesel Traction Group was formed in 1977 from a group of six enthusiasts led by Chris Reid and Colin Massingham of MTK (Modern Traction Kits) models. Colin came up with the idea of preserving a diesel locomotive in 1971 which eventually led to the purchase of Warship D821 Greyhound in 1973, although this wasn't the first choice. The first attempt favoured NBL Type 2, D6319, but unfortunately this locomotive was lost to the scrapmen at Swindon.
By 1975 Colin and Co had been joined by Paul Koch, Chris Broadhurst and Chris Hatton who maintained D821 and helped save Hymek D7029 from Old Oak Common. Paul Koch and Chris Hatton were Swindon apprentices and gained much experience with the diesel hydraulics enabling them to restore and operate the Warship and Hymek.
With the loss of Brush prototype 1200 Falcon, the group set its sights on purchasing a Western and looked at several candidates including D1001, D1005, D1009, D1022 and D1071. Eventually, we turned our attention to Western Champion and, after nearly losing it in 1979, the loco was bought in 1980.
Our fledgling group also helped secure the unique Class 28 Co-Bo locomotive, D5705. This was bought by Colin with the obvious intention of restoring it running order. However, as ever, time and money were never in the groups favour and the loco was passed on to another group for eventual restoration.
Membership and Myths
Membership to the group is by purchasing shares, when they become available, in a locomotive. This means we have a very low turnover of members, which has led to us often being referred to as the 'Masons of Preservation'. Whilst our meetings and dealings are normally kept solely within the membership we can assure you we do not wear frilly knickers (although there is .... ????!!!).
We operate a non-profit system whereby if you buy a £100.00 share in a loco valued at £10,000.00 and it is later sold for £100,000.00 you still get just your £100.00 back! This is because we believe we carry out preservation for two reasons. Firstly it is gratifying to see others gaining enjoyment from our work and secondly, and most importantly, because we think its fun!
We regularly offer assistance and advice to other locomotive owning groups and have helped maintain Class 27, D5410, at the Severn Valley Railway on behalf of Dudley Council. We have even been called in to repair Maybach engined boats on behalf of the Chilean Navy!
Mainline and Beyond
During the 1990's we met Phil Swallow. Phil was able to cast a fresh set of eyes over the groups activities and was able to give unbiased opinions on how we should approach mainline running. Using his business and enthusiast skills Phil pointed D1015 and the group in the right direction which has helped us to achieve our aim of mainline running.
Today the group has upward of twenty regular active members from a shareholdership of around 100 spread across the four loco's. The majority of our engineering teams come from a professional railway background with decades of practical experience.
Changes since the loco went mainline include the Chairmanship of the group passing from Paul Koch to Philip ('Tom') Sawyer and the formation of DTG Limited to oversee the running of D1015 under the Directorship of Steve Wainwright (Engineering), Richard Williams (Engineering) and Martin Street (Administration). Also to allow the DTG to operate in todays financially demanding world DTG Trading was formed with Martin Street and Trevor Walton taking responsibility for this while Paul 'Wobble' Winter keeps a close eye on the Groups finances in his role of Company Secretary.
The DTG has come a long way but always the emphasis has remained focused on maintaining high standards of engineering whether operating D1015 on the mainline or our other locomotives on preserved railways.