By the mid-1980s the British Rail Class 50 fleet were allocated to either Old Oak Common (London) or Laira (Plymouth) depots and had been named after ships or shore establishments of the Royal Navy. The last of the fleet had undergone the refurbishment programme in 1983 and all except one were painted in the British Rail 'large logo' style of livery.
The introduction of High Speed Trains (HSTs) on some Western Region services saw the class transferred to other duties involving passenger train movements from Paddington to Thames Valley destinations, Bristol, Birmingham, Hereford and Plymouth. In addition there were several diagrams from Plymouth to Birmingham, secondary services in Cornwall and local services between Bristol and Taunton. By 1984, sufficient Class 50s were available for them to become the locomotive of choice on the Southern Region Waterloo-Exeter route.
The majority of the Class 50 fleet met their demise at the scrap yard. Some however, thanks to numerous dedicated enthusiasts, have been preserved or are currently being restored for future generations at the many private railways across the country.