Deltic 9000 Fund
The Deltic 9000 Fund was a locomotive preservation society set up to ensure that at least one example of the Class 55 diesel locomotives was preserved following their withdrawal from service in 1981.
With the entry into service of the new High Speed Train in the late 1970s, the old Class 55 diesel locomotives began to be withdrawn. In order to ensure that the first production unit, D9000/55022 (Royal Scots Grey), was preserved, the Deltic 9000 Fund was established with the intention of purchasing the locomotive once it was withdrawn. The successful purchase was completed in 1983, and Royal Scots Grey was handed over to the fund at Doncaster, from where she was taken to the Nene Valley Railway for preservation. At the same time, D9016/55016 (Gordon Highlander) was also purchased by the fund. Gordon Highlander was intended to be used as a source of spares for Royal Scots Grey, but, with sentiment taking over, she too was restored to working order.
Deltic 9000 Locomotives Ltd
The privatisation of British Rail allowed private train operators to run services on the mainline. With this in mind, the Deltic 9000 Fund renamed itself Deltic 9000 Locomotives Ltd (DNLL) with a view to operate its locomotives pulling special charter trains and railtours. Royal Scots Grey was sent for a complete overhaul to allow the locomotive to be operated on the mainline, and in November 1996 was returned to service pulling her first railtour. DNLL, through the sponsorship of Porterbrook Leasing, was able to overhaul Gordon Highlander for service on the mainline between 1998 and 1999. At this time, the locomotive was transferred to the ownership of Porterbrook, returning to DNLL ownership in 2002. In 1998, DNLL also entered into a ten year agreement with the National Railway Museum to undertake the operation of their Class 55, D9002/55002 (King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry), on charter trains. However, in June 2004, DNLL went into voluntary liquidation. At that time, both Royal Scots Grey and Gordon Highlander were offered for sale, with both entering private ownership.
Life after DNLL
Royal Scots Grey
In July 2004 Beaver Sports purchase 55022 Royal Scots Grey'. In December 2004 preparation were made to move 55022 from Hornsey to Barrow Hill where the major work was to be undertaken by DPSCS. The move was done in January 2005 with help from the Class 40 Preservation Society, by providing their class 40 40145 East Lancashire Railway for rail transportation. In July 2005 the first section of the outer body skin was welded into place. Work was completed in July 2006 and both Napier Deltic engines were started successfully.
The next major leap for Royal Scots Grey was in August 2006 when TPWS and OTMR are all certified and mainline tests were successfully completed. Royal Scots Grey worked her first passenger train for four years at the DPS Doncaster tribute weekend at Barrow Hill and also moves to her new East Lancashire Railway home.
Royal Scots Grey is the only mainline class 55 Deltic out of the remaining 6.
Gordon Highlander entered private ownership and worked at Peak Rail for many years until she was sold to Harry Needle Railroad Company HNRC and was later sold to Direct Rail Services. The locomotive was stored at Barrow Hill until purchase by the owners of 55022 'Royal Scots Grey'. It worked for a short while on the East Lancashire Railway before her working engine was removed in early 2010 and installed in 55022 for her return to mainline twin engine operations. It is the long term aim to restore D9016 to operable condition, although extensive bodywork and power unit restoration is required, and as of December 2010, work has not started.