Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

Something you don’t often think of

Posted in Great Britain, Other general stuff about railways, Rolling stock by Chairman Pip on 20 December 2010

Because of the way the passenger railway operates nowadays, primarily using multiple units, you don’t often think about locomotives, and thus tend to forget their circumstances. Usually they’re just there. And yet when you do take time to think about them, you remember stuff that makes you go “wow”. In the recent issue of Rail there is an article about the project to move London Underground’s new S Stock trains from the Old Dalby Test Track to Neasden Depot. Obviously they cannot move under their own power, so they are transported between locomotives. The contract to undertake this work, to last five years, was obtained by GB Railfreight, for which they are using four Class 20 locomotives. These were chosen because they are light enough to operate to Neasden and have already been cleared to run on the Underground network. Not being the most exciting looking of locomotives, it’s likely not many people give them a second thought. I can be included in that category. As is the case with workhorses, they’re just…well, there. And they’re been there since the first one rolled off the production line in 1957. Yep, it was over 50 years ago that the Class 20 (or the Class D10/3 as it was) entered service, and they’re still going strong, doing a wide variety of this and that, perhaps most notably employed in hauling nuclear flask trains. There’s little glamour in it, and you don’t see them streaking through the countryside. But they keep the country going. Perhaps, as part of its rolling stock strategy, the new government might like to think about the replacement of these (and other) increasing elderly workhorses.

Class 20s haul an S Stock train on its way to London

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