During the modernisation programme British railways created specifications for a range of mainline diesel locomotive types. The lowest powered type A, later type 1, were to be locomotives with under 1,000bhp engines principally for local goods services. British Railways had also agreed that the Western region should test locomotives with hydraulic transmissions as this was proving successful for the German railways.
The Western region initially focused on building the higher power type c / type 4 locomotives based on the German V200 design (production version built 1956-58), forming the D800 Warship class of 2,200bhp locomotives (built 1958-61). The diesel hydraulic type 1 locomotives were not ordered until 1963.
The D9500 class, later TOPS class 14 appeared as a 650bhp Paxman powered centre cab rod coupled 0-6-0 locomotive with a maximum speed of 40mph. The design was clearly influenced by the highly successful GWR 0-6-0 pannier tank steam engines whose work the diesels were to take on and the German V60 class shunters whose specifications the design closely matched.
The design and specification were good for the intended work. 650bhp, especially allied with the high continuous torque characteristics of the hydraulic transmission, was plenty for short goods trains and local trip workings, while a top speed of 40 mph was sufficient for mainline running in an era when few goods trains would be expected to exceed 30mph. British Railways had however already noted that the 15-20mph top speed of the 350bhp class 08 shunters was inadequate. The centre cab and dual controls provided good all-round visibility, with the narrow bonnets providing the driver with view of the buffers and the shunter when approaching a train. A total of 56 locomotives were built, numbered D9500-D9555, their diminutive size giving rise to them being nicknames 'teddy bears', a term credited to a comment by Swindon Works' foreman George Cole's comment on the design, "We've built the Great Bear, now we're going to build a Teddy Bear!"
What should have been realised even before these locomotives were ordered was that the nature of rail freight was changing. The impact of more flexible road transport options for local and wagonload business was obvious by 1963. The work for which all of the low-power type 1 locomotives had been built was simply hopelessly uneconomic for rail service.
The loss (though probably it should be considered a gain in BRs finances!) of the local goods train all of the low-powered type 1 and many of the early type 2 locomotives were redundant. Except for the solidly reliable English Electric 1,000bhp type 1 (class 20) which, working in pairs, were capable of out-pulling more powerful single locomotives none of the type 1 locomotives were suitable for hauling the heavy, bulk and block load trains for which rail service is well suited.
Like the other early and low-powered diesel types the class 14 could not be considered to have been an entirely successful investment, for British Railways and many of the class were stored by 1968. Offering more power and 'mainline' capability the coal and iron industries found the redundant class 14s to be ideal to replace another steam shunting engine, the Austerity 0-6-0 on heavy train hauling duties around mines, quarries and steel works. Most of the class were quickly snapped up by the NCB, BSC and oil companies. Unlike the other type 1 classes the 14s proved to be highly successful locomotives at doing exactly the work for which they had been designed, just not for their original owners!
By the late 1970s the 14s were again becoming redundant with British mining (coal and ore) and steel industries rationalising plant and locations. However in 1980 one 14, D9526 which had been owned by the Blue Circle Cement group for shunting at Westbury was donated to the D&EPG for preservation.
Heritage railways quickly latched on to the class, with fully serviceable locomotives readily available from British Steel. Needing just basic servicing and reinstating of the vacuum train brake some went direct into passenger service as a back up to the steam locomotives.
A total of 19 are preserved and many are regularly in passenger service in addition to proving their worth on engineering trains for heritage lines and occasionally national network engineering projects!