British Rail Class 20

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English Electric Type 1
British Rail Class 20
20151 & 20131 Clowne (3051379286).jpg
Nos. 20151 & 20131 working nose-to-nose.
Specifications
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder English Electric at Vulcan Foundry and Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns
Build date 1957-1968
Total produced 228
Configuration Bo-Bo
UIC classification Bo-Bo
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Wheel diameter 3 ft 7 in (1.092 m)
Minimum curve 3.5 chains (70 m)
Wheelbase 32 ft 6 in (9.91 m)
Length 46 ft 9 12 in (14.262 m)
Width 8 ft 9 in (2.67 m)
Height 12 ft 8 in (3.86 m)
Locomotive weight 72 long tons (73.2 t; 80.6 short tons)
Fuel capacity 380 imp gal (1,700 l; 460 US gal)
Prime mover English Electric 8 SVT Mk.II
Generator DC
Traction motors D8000–D8049: EE 526/5D
Remainder: EE 526/8D
Transmission Diesel electric
Multiple working Blue Star
Top speed 75 mph (121 km/h)
Power output Engine: 1,000 hp (746 kW)
Tractive effort Maximum: 42,000 lbf (186.8 kN)
Continuous: 25,000 lbf (111.2 kN)@ 11 mph (17.7 km/h)[1]
Train heating None
Locomotive
brakeforce
35 long tons-force (349 kN)
Train brakes Vacuum, Dual or Air
Career
Railroad(s) Direct Rail Services
HNRC
Number D8000–D8199, D8300–D8327; later 20001–20228
Axle load class Route availability 5

The British Rail (BR) Class 20, otherwise known as an English Electric Type 1, is a class of diesel-electric locomotive. In total, 228 locomotives in the class were built by English Electric between 1957 and 1968, the large number being in part because of the failure of other early designs in the same power range to provide reliable locomotives.

The locomotives were originally numbered D8000–D8199 and D8300–D8327. They are known by railway enthusiasts as "Choppers",[2][3] a name derived from the distinctive beat that the engine produces under load which resembles the sound of a helicopter.

Overview[edit]

Designed around relatively basic technology, the 73-tonne locomotives produce 1,000 horsepower (750 kW) and can operate at up to 75 mph (121 km/h). Designed to work light mixed freight traffic, they have no train heating facilities. Locomotives up to D8127 were fitted with disc indicators in the style of the steam era;[4] when headcodes were introduced in 1960 the locomotive’s design was changed to incorporate headcode boxes. Although older locomotives were not retro-fitted with headcode boxes, a few of the earlier batch acquired headcode boxes as a result of repairs. Unusually for British designs, the locomotive had a single cab. This caused serious problems with visibility when travelling nose first, though in these circumstances the driver's view is comparable to that on the steam locomotives that the Class 20s replaced. It was common however to find Class 20s paired together at the nose, with their cabs at opposite ends, ensuring that the driver could quite clearly see the road ahead.

Two Class 20s coupled nose to nose hauling a freight train in 1986

The Class 20 saw only limited service on passenger trains. A small number were fitted with a through pipe for steam heating, primarily for use in conjunction with a Class 37 locomotive on the West Highland Line. Otherwise their use was limited to summer relief services, particularly to Skegness often under the adopted title of The Jolly Fisherman starting from various places including Burton-on-Trent, Stoke-on-Trent, Derby and Leicester. Also occasionally other holiday resorts on the east coast of England, occasional duties as a pilot, and short distance diversions of electric-hauled trains over non-electrified lines.[5]

The shift of light mixed freight to the road network left British Rail with an oversupply of small locomotives. The Class 20s, however, could work in multiple and so handle heavier traffic. Most spent the majority of their working lives coupled nose to nose in pairs to provide a more useful 2,000 hp (1,500 kW) unit and to solve the visibility problems.

Most have now been withdrawn but a few remain with DRS and other minor and industrial operators. Several that are usually operated singly have been fitted with nose-mounted video cameras in order to solve the visibility problems.

The Série 1400 locomotives of Portuguese Railways (CP) are based on the BR Class 20s.

Operation[edit]

British Rail[edit]

The first batch of Class 20s were allocated to Devons Road depot in Bow, London to work cross-London transfer freights, with the following eight locos allocated to Hornsey depot. After a trial with D8006, D8028–D8034 were allocated for work in highland Scotland, and had tablet catcher recesses built into the cabsides. D8035–D8044 were originally to be allocated to Norwich, but were actually used for empty coaching stock (ECS) workings in and out of London Euston. D8050–D8069 were allocated to the new Tinsley TMD in Sheffield, from where they regularly worked into Lincolnshire and Humberside. D8070–D8127 were sent to operate in the Scottish lowlands, particularly in the Forth-Clyde area, and the Fife coalfield. This completed the original orders for 128 locos, the last being delivered in August 1962.

Two Class 20s working a passenger train

With the subsequent order for a further 100 Class 20 locos, deliveries recommenced with D8128 in January 1966. Tests in 1967 using D8179 and D8317 resulted in locos from D8316 being delivered from the manufacturer with the new electronic control system for working merry-go-round (MGR) coal trains. Trains to Longannet Power Station sometimes required locos to triple-head trains.[2]

After privatisation[edit]

Many Class 20s have seen use with Direct Rail Services after privatisation. 20308 is seen at Sheffield in 2013 on RHTT duties.

Some Class 20s were used on the construction of the Channel Tunnel and High Speed 1 and some even made their way to France to work for the Compagnie des chemins de Fer Départementaux (CFD) in industry there, although these have since been repatriated. Some locos have in the past been hired by Hunslet-Barclay to provide motive power for weedkilling trains. These trains sprayed a weedkiller onto the track bed.

Direct Rail Services' (DRS) fleet of Class 20/3s has at times seen frequent work across Britain in pairs, or with Class 37s, on nuclear flask trains, the company's speciality. Perhaps the most unusual train hauled by a Class 20 was the Kosovo Train for Life charter train in Autumn 1999 which carried 8000 tonnes of aid. Leaving London's Kensington Olympia station on 17 September 1999,[6] the train was hauled by 20901, 20902 and 20903 throughout, reaching Prague by 20 September[7] and arrived at Pristina station at 10:00 on 25 September 1999.[8]

In 2005, Harry Needle Railroad Company (HNRC) acquired a large number of 20/0s and 20/9s from the DRS stored fleet. By May 2008 HNRC had 16 Class 20s in storage and 8 operational of which two are on hire at Corus Scunthorpe (nos 81 and 82). DRS has 8 Class 20/3 locos operational.[9]

They are leased, along with 7 others,and re-engined from the Harry Needle Railroad Company. They are currently being employed on the Rail Head Treatment Trains, and to deliver new S-Stock to London Underground.

HNRC now plans to re-engine many of the 20s and put them up for sale, together with many shunters that it presently owns.

Sub-classes[edit]

Sub-Class Description
20/0 Standard as-built locos
20/3 (under British Rail) Small fleet of standard Class 20/0s modified for Peak Forest aggregate workings
20/3 (DRS) DRS-owned/operated locos fitted with modified cab equipment and fully refurbished
20/9 Modified from Class 20/0 after withdrawal and sold to Hunslet-Barclay for contract freight use. Few technical differences from standard locos. Later sold to DRS and recently some to HNRC.


Liveries[edit]

British Rail[edit]

D8000 was delivered in June 1957 in overall green livery, with grey footplate,[4] red bufferbeams and a grey roof extending down the bodyside to the edge of the roof panels.[10] The original batch of 10 locos bore the BR crest facing towards the nose on both sides, used yellow sans serif numerals, and had green cab roofs; locos from D8010 had the correct pattern BR crest, white numerals and grey cab roof.[4] This was adjusted after D8103[4] to include a small yellow warning panel, although the precise size and detail of such panels varied somewhat.[2]

In 1966, D8048 was selected by the BR design panel for livery experiments and was painted in the prototype standard blue, including the bufferbeams and roof. The exceptions were the full yellow front ends and a black underframe.[11] After the adoption of Rail Blue as the BR livery, D8178 became one of the first locomotives to be delivered in this livery (along with Class 25 D7660 and Class 47 D1953)[11] and all subsequent locomotives were delivered in this livery. Despite this, some locos continued to be returned to traffic in green livery, although often with the later BR "double arrow" logo and data panel;[4] thus 20141 was the final main line loco to carry BR green livery.[12]

Some locomotives, including 20227, were repainted in the Railfreight grey livery with red sole bars, yellow ends and large double arrows on the sides.

At least four of the class were painted in the British Rail Telecommunications livery:[13]

Privatisation[edit]

Corus 81 (ex-BR 20056) at Barrow Hill Engine Shed, 9 July 2006

Class 20/9 locomotives operated by DRS have all been painted in DRS blue, with grey roof, red buffer beams and full yellow ends. There have been small variations in the shade of yellow used on these locos, and the penetration of blue from the sides onto the ends. Some locomotives owned by HNRC, of subclasses 20/0 and 20/9, have been painted in a variation of two-tone grey livery. These have dark grey roof, mid-grey upper body and light grey lower body, black underframe and buffer beam. The nose end is painted yellow, which the lower part of the cab end is yellow and the upper part black, this continuing around the cab sides but with the light grey instead of yellow. However, HNRC Class 20s on long-term hire to Corus have been painted in Corus livery; previously silver but currently a bright yellow-green with red solebar and silver cab sides.

Four locomotives have also carried the orange and white livery of the CFD (Compagnie de Chemins de Fer Départementaux') : 20035, 20063, 20139, 20228[14] whilst working in France.

Number 20227 has been used extensively on the London Underground network. In the mid-2000s was painted in Metropolitan maroon livery and named "Sir John Betjeman" by the Class 20 Locomotive Society as acknowledgement of this work. It is now in a special LT-based livery.

2 Class 20's have been painted in GBRf Europorte's orange and blue livery.

In popular culture[edit]

In the 1995 James Bond film GoldenEye, British Rail Class 20 No. D8188 was used as the locomotive of an escape train, with the addition of armour plating to give the impression of a Russian armoured locomotive. In addition, the distinctive engine noise was overdubbed with the sounds of an EMD 16-567.[citation needed]

Preservation[edit]

Second built Class 20 D8001 in nearly identical livery to that of D8000 waits at Wirksworth on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway in 2009

A total of 26 Class 20 locomotives are preserved, including the first of the class built, D8000, which is part of the National Railway Collection at the National Railway Museum in York.

Class 20s in preservation[15]
TOPS
number
Current
number
Preserved by Location
20001 D8001 Class 20 Locomotive Society Midland Railway – Butterley
20007 D8007 English Electric Preservation Great Central Railway, Nottingham
20020 20020 Scottish Railway Preservation Society Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway
20031 20031 Privately owned Keighley & Worth Valley Railway
20035 ex CFD Sutton Coldfield
20048 Midland Class 20 Association Midland Railway, Butterley
20050 D8000 National Collection National Railway Museum
20059 D8059 Somerset & Dorset Loco Company Severn Valley Railway
20069 D8069 Privately owned Mid-Norfolk Railway
20087 20087 ELR Diesel Group East Lancs Railway
20096 20096 Unknown Based at Barrow Hill
20098 D8098 Type One locomotive company Ltd Great Central Railway, Loughborough
20107 RMS Locotec [Barrow Hill]
20110 D8110 South Devon Diesel Traction South Devon Railway
20117 20117 Somerset & Dorset Loco Company Stored at Severn Valley Railway, being used as a source of spare parts for other S&D Class 20 locomotives
20118 20118 Harry Needle Railroad Company Currently running on the Main line
20137 D8137 Privately owned Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway
20142 D8142 Privately owned Mainline Now painted in Balfour Beatty Blue and White
20154 20154 English Electric Preservation Great Central Railway, Nottingham
20166 20166 Harry Needle Railroad Company Wensleydale Railway
20169 D8169 Privately owned Wensleydale Railway
20188 D8188 Somerset & Dorset Loco Company Severn Valley Railway
20189 20189 Privately owned Mainline Now painted in Balfour Beatty Blue and White
20205 20907 Class 20 Locomotive Society Midland Railway - Butterley
20214 20214 Privately owned Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway
20227 20227 Class 20 Locomotive Society West Ruislip LUL Depot
20228 2004 Privately owned Barry Tourist Railway
20020 prepares to depart Bo'ness at the Diesel Gala in 2011

Models[edit]

Hornby Dublo, later Wrenn, made an 00-gauge plastic-bodied model class 20 from 1958 until the 1970s. In 2008, Hornby produced several of the Class 20 in various liveries in 00 gauge, which were all based on the old Lima tooling. Bachmann Branchline (00) has its own version of the model in various liveries. Also with DCC sound-fitted locomotives. Bachmann (Graham Farish) has also produced a model in various liveries in N gauge.

References and sources[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shipman, Mark (3 July 2004). "Class 20". Locomotive Photo Gallery. Archived from the original on 25 October 2004. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Oakley, Michael (1981). BR Class 20 diesels. Truro: Bradford Barton / D&EG. ISBN 0-85153-419-8. 
  3. ^ "'At least 20 20s' for Barrow Hill diesel jubilee". The Railway Magazine. July 2007. p. 9. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Wells, Monty (November 1982). "Tweak a Twenty". Railway Modeller (Seaton, Devon: Peco Publications & Publicity Ltd) 33 (385): pp398–401. 
  5. ^ Webster, Neal; Greaves, Simon; Greengrass, Robert (1985). Loco-Hauled Travel 1985-6. Bradford: Metro Enterprises. ISBN 0-947773-02-9. 
  6. ^ "Pickersgill-Kaye sponsor Kosovo train for life". Pickersgill-Kaye Ltd. 27 September 1999. Archived from the original on 4 July 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2008. 
  7. ^ "Class 20". The Railway Centre.com. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2008. 
  8. ^ "Train of life in Kosovo". BBC News (BBC). 25 September 1999. Retrieved 20 May 2008. 
  9. ^ "End of the Line: Withdrawn & Stored Locomotives UK". WNXX. Retrieved 21 May 2008. (subscription required (help)). 
  10. ^ Stevens-Stratten, S.W.; Carter, R.S. (1978). British Rail Main-Line Diesels. Shepperton: Ian Allan Ltd. ISBN 0-7110-0617-2. 
  11. ^ a b Turner, Graham (2012). "Rail Blue - The Story". Rail Blue. Retrieved 20 March 2008. 
  12. ^ Turner, Graham. "The Class 20 Locomotive Fleet". Retrieved 25 November 2008. 
  13. ^ BR Telecommunications Ltd; Hallas, Sam; Ward, Chris. "BR Telecommunications Locomotives" (Article). samhallas.co.uk. Archived from the original on 16 September 2013. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 
  14. ^ McMurray, Gareth. "fleet lists : class 20". thejunction.org.uk. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2011. 
  15. ^ "Preserved Diesels - Class 20". Preserved Diesels. Retrieved 15 August 2008. 

Sources[edit]

  • Marsden, Colin J. (1981). Motive power recognition:1 Locomotives. Shepperton: Ian Allan Ltd. ISBN 0-7110-1109-5. 


Further reading[edit]

  • McManus, Michael. Ultimate Allocations, British Railways Locomotives 1948 - 1968. Wirral. Michael McManus. 

External links[edit]