Class 47

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The Class 47s (or Brush Type 4s as they were originally known) were British Rail's most numerous main line diesel locomotives, with 512 built between 1962 and 1968.
47635 Jimmy Milne at Aberdeen, 17th June 1990 Photo by Westerncelt

The first appearance in Scotland was March 1963 when D1510 was sent to Haymarket Depot of crew training.

Haymarket got its own permanent allocation from October 1965 when nine new locomotives, D1968-76 (later 47268-274,516,517) were delivered to the depot. At first the locos were mainly used to supplement the Class 55s on the ECML workings.

Prior to electrification, Class 47s were also used on the WCML, but these were mostly LM region locos.

It was not until the mid 1970's that further class 47s were allocated to Scottish depots, with Eastfield and Inverness depots gaining allocations.

A fleet of 12 class 47/7 locos converted for Push-pull working with 'DBSO' driving trailers was introduced to service between Edinburgh & Glasgow Queen Street in 1979. Five more locos were later converted to for push-pull services to Aberdeen.

By the mid 1980s class 47s had become the most numerous locos in Scotland and were used on all the mainline passenger routes:
  • Edinburgh - Glasgow QS (Push-pull)
  • Glasgow QS - Aberdeen (Push-pull)
  • Edinburgh - Aberdeen (some Push-pull)
  • Edinburgh/Glasgow QS - Inverness
  • Inverness - Aberdeen
  • Glasgow Central - Stranraer
  • Glasgow Central - Dumfries - Carlisle
  • Carstairs - Edinburgh
  • Edinburgh - London KX (Sleepers)
Introduction of Class 158s from 1990 saw the fleet size decline rapidly. When pairs of Class 37s took over the Inverness and Aberdeen Sleepers in the Autumn of 1992, the last 47s based in Scotland were transferred away.

The Inverness and Aberdeen Sleepers reverted to 47 haulage in 1995, initially using locos based at Crewe, but a dedicated pool was established by EWS at Motherwell Depot? from 1998 to 2002.

Class 67s started to be used on the Sleeper duties from April 2001, and took over both portions in June 2002. EWS withdrew its remaining class 47 locomotives in 2004.

In British Rail days, Class 47s were banned from the West Highland Line. The class made its first known visit on 09/11/2002, with 47798 and 47799 on the Royal Train (top and tail), taking Prince Philip to Spean Bridge, and continuing to Fort William before returning south to Wolverton.

The start of regular working on the West Highland Line did not come until 06/08/2005, with 47826 and 47854 (top and tail) on an SRPS railtour from Dundee to Mallaig, which they worked throughout.

However, the use of 47749 on the 1Y11 0450 Edinburgh - Fort William Caledonian Sleeper service on Monday 23/10/2017 was the first on a public service on the line.

Visits of Class 47s to Kyle of Lochalsh are known to have occurred in 1979, but regular operation on this route started with a special run of The Royal Scotsman hauled by 47854 on 13/10/05.

Current Operators

West Coast Railway Company

47854 Diamond Jubilee at Stirling on 1Z26 0742 Whitehaven to Perth excursion train, on 26/9/15 Photo by 40072

WCRC class 47 locos are used on Charter trains, and empty stock movements. They were used on the The Royal Scotsman from 2004 to 2015. WCRC have a few locos fitted with Miniature Snow Ploughs (MSPs) and these are often deployed on snow clearance duties in the Winter months.

West Coast Class 47 fleet in 2017
Previous numbersCurrent NumberLiveryPoolNotes / Names
47237WCRC Maroon with WCRC logoAWCA(no ETH)
D1922 4724547245WCRC Maroon with WCRC logoAWCA(MSP fitted, no ETH)
47270BR Blue AWCASwift (no ETH)
47580BR Blue with UK flagMBDLCounty of Essex
47746WCRC Maroon with WCRC logoAWCAChris Fudge
D1617 47036 47562 47672 4776047760WCRC Maroon with WCRC logoAWCA(MSP fitted)
D1965 47265 47591 47804 47792 4780447804WCRC Maroon with WCRC logoAWCA
D1976 47274 47637 4782647826WCRC Maroon with WCRC logoAWCA
47832WCRC Maroon with WCRC logoAWCA
D1648 47064 47639 4785147851WCRC Maroon with WCRC logoAWCA
D1972 47271 47604 47674 4785447854WCRC Maroon with WCRC logoAWCADiamond Jubilee (MSP fitted)

Colas Rail


GB Railfreight

47812 & 47847 arrived at Glasgow central with the Lowlander sleeper (diverted via Dumfries) on 16.01.2016 Photo by kingrail

Previous Operators in the Post-BR era:


Freightliner used to have a small pool of 47's available for rolling stock transfer duties. The 47's were stood down due to have no OTMR fitted and are stored at Crewe Basford Hall or Barrow Hill. However, 47811 was seen moving around Crewe under its own power in May 2013.

As of 2016, 47830 is the only class 47 operational. normally used for stock movements but it was stored in 2017.

The 47's consisted of: 47811, 47816, 47830


47501, 47790, 47802, 47805, 47810, 47813, 47818, 47828, 47832, 47841 and 47853

DRS 47's are currently being used on the Stobart Pullman railtours unfortunetely in the middle of July 2008 DRS pulled the plug on the Stobart Pullman business and this forced the locomotives into store at Crewe Gresty Bridge (GB). They are mostly used on charters like the northern belle and the cruise saver express.
As of 2017, DRS no longer own any class 47s

FM Rail

47145, 47355, 47703, 47709, 47712, 47832
FM Rail was a short lived operator launched in 2005. It went into administration in December 2006. It had 47709 & 47712 repainted in 'Blue Pullman livery' early in 2006 for use on its charter trains.

Locos Preservation

47643 at Boness in December 2010 Photo by fragglerock

See also

External Links