Thursday, 6 September 2012

Happy Birthday! Class 47 - 50 Today!

Back in February 2005 47847 is seen at Chester working the 13:35 Holyhead- Manchester Piccadilly for Arriva Trains Wales. The heritage large logo blue livery was applied by Virgin Trains in the operators latter days of class 47 use (it retains the livery to this day- though has not worked on the mainline for a number of years). Incidentally this train was loco hauled for just two more days, the working reverting to a class 158 the following week.
Today yet another class of British locomotive hit the impressive 50 milestone. The first of the class 47's, once the most numerous mainline diesel locomotive ever to operate in Britain with a total of 512 machines, D1500 made it's first trip on the mainline on 6th September 1962 from Brush (Loughbrough) to Crewe.
Today, despite the changes of the last fifty years some members of the class still find daily work on the national network- there is even still the opportunity to travel behind the class on a regular booked passenger train each summer Saturday.
Away from the mainline the locomotives have proved popular in preservation, while a number live on as the re-engined class 57's.
Lets hope that we can continue to enjoy the Brush/Sulzer type 4's for many years to come!
Another ex-Virgin heritage repaint- 47840 'North Star' is seen on 27th August 2005 about to work 5A40 from Paddington with the empty stock from the Night Riviera Sleeper.
While the use of a 47 on this working was slightly unusual at this time- this picture is even more noteworthy as the overnight train had been the last in the UK to convey a 'Motorail' service to London, this being withdrawn at the end of the 2005 summer season. 47840 is now preserved at the West Somerset Railway.
In 2012 a number of class 47's are still going strong- DRS is now one of the largest users of the class. On 21st June recently overhauled 47805 leads the empty stock of a Northern Belle charter through Egham on it's way to pick up racegoers from Royal Ascot.

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