The Deltic Preservation Society Ltd is the largest diesel locomotive preservation society in the United Kingdom and owns three of the six surviving Deltics. A total of 22 Deltics were built for British Rail in 1961/62, for use on the East Coast Main Line out of Kings Cross. By the late 1970s, they were being replaced by new Inter-City 125 trains and were gradually phased out, the last examples being taken out of service at the beginning of 1982.
In 1977, realising the days of the Deltics were numbered due to the introduction of High-Speed Trains on the East Coast Main Line, a small group of enthusiasts decided on a long-term aim - To preserve a working Deltic locomotive. The Deltic Preservation Society was formed.
They were so successful that, by 1982, membership had reached more than 1500, and the society was able to purchase not one but two locomotives, Alycidon (D9009) and Royal Highland Fusilier (D9019). The two locos were moved from storage at Doncaster Works, to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in August 1982 and put into service immediately. A third example, Tulyar (D9015), based at the Midland Railway Centre, was added in 1986 when it was purchased from Peter Sansom.
Since then, our locomotives have made appearances all over the country, and have hauled trains on a wide variety of private lines including the East Lancashire, Great Central, Keighley & Worth Valley, Llangollen, Mid-Hants, Nene Valley, Severn Valley, and West Somerset Railways.
A major overhaul at ICI Wilton, lasting almost eight years - one of the most comprehensive overhauls carried out to any preserved diesel locomotive to date - was completed on D9009 Alycidon in 1998 prior to the loco returning to the main line.
Early in 1998, the society successfully negotiated with VSOE (Venice Simplon Orient Express) to return its machines to the main line for use in its northern-based Pullman commencing operation in 1999. Two of our locomotives were certified for use on Railtrack lines during 1999, D9009 and D9019 seeing regular use on VSOE workings until the company ceased operating its own train in October 2000.
The locos remained on the main line until 2003 and 2005 respectively, and after a break from mainline operations, D9009 returned to mainline duties in July 2012.
In 2003, a purpose-built depot was constructed at Barrow Hill with undercover housing for our locos.
July 2003 saw the DPS granted Charitable Status by the Charity Commission, recognising the society’s commitment to educating the public about the achievements of the Deltic Locomotive in British Railway history. The charitable objectives of the society are:
To advance the education of the public through the preservation, operation, and exhibition of locomotives of historical and scientific importance especially the Deltic diesel locomotive.
To provide working exhibits of locomotives and related rolling stock for study by and for the education of the public by maintaining them in mainline working order.
To promote interest in the preservation of diesel locomotives and associated equipment that is of historic and scientific value
Now, over 35 years after the first purchases, the society is well placed to build on its success as a leading locomotive preservation society.