British Rail Class 04

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British Rail Class 04
Buckfastleigh - D2246 (crop).jpg
Preserved BR class 04 locomotive D2246 at Buckfastleigh.
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-mechanical
BuilderDrewry Car Co., at Vulcan Foundry and Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns
Build date1948 (D2341); 1952–1962 (D2200-2340)
Total produced142 (for BR)
+ 2 (for CEGB)
 • Whyte0-6-0DM
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Wheel diameterD2200–D2214: 3 ft 3 in (0.991 m)
D2215–D2273: 3 ft 6 in (1.067 m)
D2274–D2339: 3 ft 7 in (1.092 m)
Minimum curve2 chains (130 ft; 40 m)
Wheelbase9 ft 0 in (2.74 m)
Length26 ft 0 12 in (7.94 m)
Width8 ft 6 in (2.59 m)
Height12 ft 1 12 in (3.696 m)
Loco weight30.2 long tons (30.7 t; 33.8 short tons) to
32 long tons (32.5 t; 35.8 short tons)
Fuel capacity225 imp gal (1,020 l; 270 US gal) to
300 imp gal (1,400 l; 360 US gal)
Prime moverGardner 8L3
TransmissionWilson-Drewry 5 speed epicyclic gearbox
Train heatingNone
Train brakesVacuum
Performance figures
Maximum speed25 mph (40 km/h) to
27 mph (43 km/h)
Power outputEngine: 204 hp (152 kW)
At rail: 152 hp (113 kW)
Tractive effortMaximum: 15,650 lbf (69.6 kN) to
16,850 lbf (75.0 kN)
Brakeforce14 long tons-force (139.5 kN)
OperatorsBritish Railways
Axle load classD2200–D2214: RA 1
D2215–D2340: RA 2
Disposition20 (19 BR + 1 CEGB) preserved, remainder scrapped

The British Rail Class 04 was a 0-6-0 diesel-mechanical shunting locomotive class, built between 1952[1] and 1962 and was the basis for the later Class 03 built in the British Railways workshops.


The prototype locomotive was built in 1947 and served as a departmental shunter at Hither Green depot as number DS1173, before being transferred to the capital stock list as D2341 in 1967.

The Class 04 locomotives were supplied by the Drewry Car Co., which at the time (and for most of its existence) had no manufacturing capability. Drewry sub-contracted the construction work to two builders both of whom built other locomotives under the same arrangement. Early locomotives (including DS1173) were built by Vulcan Foundry, and later examples were built by Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns.

Design evolution[edit]

A clear line of development can be seen in the Class 04 from the 0-4-0DM locomotives built by Andrew Barclay and Drewry/Vulcan Foundry in the early 1940s. Similar 0-6-0DM locomotives had been built before the first Class 04, and others were built for industrial use.

The design continued to develop during the construction period, although this was generally confined to minor changes, including the diameter of the wheels.

The first batch (4 engines numbered 11100-11103, later D2200-D2203) were equipped for street-running (see below).

The second batch (6 engines numbered 11105-11110, later D2204-D2209) were fitted with conical exhaust stacks (the first batch initially had a plain exhaust exhaust "hole", later having a long, thin, and straight exhaust pipe added) and shaped cab front windows (instead of the rectangular windows of the first batch); these changes continued on all subsequent batches.

From the fourth batch (commencing with 11121, later D2215) the small cab side window of the earlier batches was replaced with a much larger window, the rear half of which slid open. The wheel diameter was also increased from 3'3" to 3'6".

From locomotive D2274 onwards, the wheel diameter was again increased, from 3'6" to 3'7".

Use on tramways[edit]

The first four of these locomotives (11100-11103, later D2200-D2203) were fitted with side skirting and cowcatchers for use on the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway and on the Yarmouth Docks tramway system, since British law requires locomotives running on unfenced street trackage to be so equipped for the protection of pedestrians and animals. At least two later engines (11111/D2210 and 11113/D2212) were also fitted with cowcatchers and skirting for use on the Ipswich docks tramway system.


The class was distributed throughout the British Railways system, but the significant decline in the traffic for which they were designed resulted in a large surplus of shunting engines on the network. With this reduction in the need for shunters it was decided to standardise on the Class 03 as a light diesel-mechanical shunter and the Class 08 and 09 as larger, diesel-electric shunters, leading to the withdrawal of the class 04 engines.

Technical details[edit]


Mechanically they were identical to the Class 03, with the same 24 litre Gardner engine, 5-speed epicyclic gearbox and the same overall layout. They had a straight bonnet (US: hood) from the front to the rear-mounted cab, unlike the 03s which bulged higher towards the rear (over the larger fuel tank), and the cab's rounded roof met the sides at an angle instead of with a curve as in the 03, with a lip all the way round. The internal cab layout was almost symmetrical to allow the driver to work from either side as required.

Drive Train[edit]

The engine is a Gardner 8-cyl, 4-stroke 8L3 developing 204 hp (152 kW) at 1200 rpm, connected to a Wilson-Drewry CA5 R7, 5-speed epicyclic with RF11 spiral bevel reverse and final drive unit mounted on a jackshaft. The drive to the wheels was by coupling rods from the jackshaft.


11226 at Hither Green Depot in March 1960.

The prototype (of 1947) was numbered DS1173 in departmental service. The first 60 production units (from 1952) were numbered in the sequences 11100–11103, 11105–11115, 11121–11135, 11149–11160, and 11212–11229.[2]

From 1957, new production units received numbers in the D-prefix ("Pre-TOPS") numbering series. All existing units were renumbered in the same series, sequentially from D2200 to D2259, with the new production units continuing from D2260 to D2340.[2] Finally, the prototype locomotive left departmental service and entered the service fleet, being re-numbered as D2341; thus the oldest example of the class was allocated the last number in the numbering sequence.[2]


The Class 04s were withdrawn from service earlier than the Class 03, being taken out of service between June 1967 and May 1972, with some sold for re-use by industry. Four were exported to Italy about 1972, with D2289 reported as still in service until 2012.

Table of withdrawals [3]
Year Quantity in
service at
start of year
Locomotive numbers
1967 142 13 D2203/07/54/63/66/73/75/88/90–92, D2303/39.
1968 129 74 D2200–02/08–09/13–14/18–22/24/26–28/30/32–36/38/40/45–46,
1969 55 28 D2204–06/15/25/29/31/37/42–43/47/53/64/67/71/74/76–77/83/85/96,
1970 27 15 D2210–12/44/48–49/58/60–61/65/72/78/82/97/99.
1971 12 12 D2216–17/23/39/41/79–80/84/89/93–95.
1972 0 0 D2217 (reinstated and withdrawn).


21 examples of the class were preserved. Of these, 20 were BR Class 04 locomotives, and 1 was of the same type, but operated privately by the CEGB. One preserved engine, D2267, was scrapped in 2003, leaving 20 in preservation, including 19 originally operated by British Rail.

Number Image Built Original Allocation Current Owner Current Location Status Notes
D2203 19/07/1952 Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway[4] Operational Only surviving locomotive from the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway.
D2205 Williton North Yard D2205.jpg 14/03/1953 Thornaby Heritage Shunters Trust Rowsley South, Peak Rail Undergoing restoration Allocated to Middlesbrough Dock and sold to the Port Authority in 1969. Preserved at Kent and East Sussex Railway, then West Somerset Railway. Sold to the Heritage Shunters Trust in October 2012.
D2207 14/02/1953 North Yorkshire Moors Railway North Yorkshire Moors Railway Operational Full overhaul completed 2018. BR Green with Wasp Stripes. Usually based at Pickering C&W.
D2229 D2229 NCB No 5 at Manton Wood Colliery 3.jpg 28/11/1955 Heritage Shunters Trust Rowsley South, Peak Rail Stored, out of use After sale by BR, operated by the National Coal Board at Manton Wood Colliery, Worksop.
D2245 12/11/1956 Leeds Neville Hill Private Derwent Valley Light Railway (York) Operational Previously owned by the Derwent Valley Light Railway.[5]
D2246 Staverton D2246 and Toad 68777.jpg 06/12/1956 Devon Diesel Society South Devon Railway Operational
D2267 20/01/1958 North Norfolk Railway Scrapped Previously preserved, but scrapped at NNR around April 2003.
D2271 Minehead D2271.jpg 14/03/1958 South Devon Railway South Devon Railway
D2272 28/03/1958 Heritage Shunters Trust Peak Rail Stored, out of use
D2279 15/02/1960 East Anglian Railway Museum East Anglian Railway Museum Operational Painted in BR Green with wasp stripes. Used regularly for shunting and on occasional passenger trains.
D2280 1960 Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Undergoing overhaul After many years stored out of use at the North Norfolk Railway, it moved to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway and in 2019 was nearing end of overhaul at Toddington diesel depot.
D2284 25/03/1960 Heritage Shunters Trust Peak Rail Stored, out of use
D2289 00/00/1960 Heritage Shunters Trust Undergoing overhaul
D2298 D2298 at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre 1.jpg 11/10/1960 Buckinghamshire Railway Centre Undergoing overhaul
D2302 Hugh llewelyn D2302 (5624508324).jpg 31/10/1960 D2578 Locomotive Group, Moreton Business Park
D2310 04110 - Battlefield Line (9638774298).jpg 22/12/1960 Battlefield Line Operational
D2324 Hugh llewelyn D2324 (5588627081).jpg 26/04/1961 Barrow Hill Roundhouse
D2325 Mangapps Railway Museum 27-08-2011 (6086359249).jpg 29/04/1961 Mangapps Railway Museum Operational
D2334 Class 04 D2334 at Dereham.jpg 25/07/1961 Heaton Private Mid-Norfolk Railway Undergoing overhaul Built by RS&H, at Darlington Works in 1961; allocated to Heaton from 25 July 1961; Percy Main (North Shields) from 8 June 1963; Gateshead from 30 January 1965; Darlington from 24 February 1968. Sold to National Coal Board 1968 for Manvers Main Colliery, then Wath, then Thurcroft, and finally Maltby. Sold for preservation in 1985.
D2337 30/08/1961 Heritage Shunters Trust Peak Rail Stored, out of use
2574 (works number) Drewry Class 04 Diesel Locomotive (38630207344).jpg 10/12/1957 Private Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway Operational Never a BR loco, but the second of two built by RS&H after 11212 (DC/RSH 2572/7858, later D2242) and before 11213 (DC/RSH 2575/7862, later D2243), for industrial use at Willington Power Station. It is actually DC/RSH 2574/7860, but has been painted to impersonate D2260 (old style number 11230). The original D2260 was scrapped in 1983.

Related engines[edit]

British industrial units[edit]

A number of almost identical industrial locomotives were supplied to various private companies in the United Kingdom. One example (works number 2252) supplied to Adams Newport in 1948 is preserved at the Mangapps Railway Museum where it has been modified to recreate a Wisbech and Upwell Tramway class 04, using the number 11104, which was not used in the actual class 04 numbering sequence.[6]

Export engines[edit]

The class 04 design was the basis of some related narrow gauge industrial engines built for export overseas. An example of this was the Tasmanian Government Railways V class which ran on 3'6" gauge, necessitating an outside frame design, which was the main visible difference.

Fictional locomotive[edit]

The first batch (tramway style) Class 04 locomotives were the basis for the character Mavis in The Railway Series books written by the Rev. W. Awdry, and the subsequent Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends TV series.


Airfix produced a plastic (static) OO kit in the 1960s; this is still available in the Dapol range as kit number C60.

Bachmann produced an example in N and 00, 0 and 1 gauge. An HO gauge model was made to be used as the Thomas and Friends character Mavis.

In O gauge Vulcan produced a Kit and Bachmann produced ready to run models.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c "04 0-6-0". BR Database. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  3. ^ Strickland 1983, pp. 36–37.
  4. ^ D2203 at Embsay Archived 30 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Derwent Valley Light Railway Centenary Gala". 20 January 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  6. ^ "Stock List - Locomotives". Mangapps Railway Museum. Retrieved 24 February 2020.


  • Strickland, David C. (September 1983). Locomotive Directory: Every Single One There Has Ever Been. Camberley, Surrey: Diesel and Electric Group. ISBN 978-0-9063-7510-5. OCLC 16601890.

External links[edit]