British Railways Class 20 D8001 (20001)

Class 20 locomotive 20001 Class 20 locomotive 20001

The first 20 Type 1 Bo-Bo 1000 H.P. locomotives arrived at Devons Road engine shed in the East End of London at the end of the 1950's. In the heart of Bow it was a sprawling site and became the country’s first all-diesel depot in 1958. 

Built as D8001, this Loco is the second of the Class built in 1957. D8001 spent many of its BR Service years based at Toton Depot working merry go round coal trains.

D8001 was delivered new from Vulcan foundry to Devon’s Road Bow in July 1957 after numerous test trains up the west coast main line to Penrith. As the second locomotive in a pilot scheme of 20 locomotives, the locomotive was delivered in all over green, red buffer beams and oval buffers, the new type 1 locomotives being an instant success working local freight trips around East and North London.

In September 1958 reallocation to Crewe occurred until a transfer back south to Willesden in October 1960, saw 8001 working amongst the trip freights, station pilot and ECS turns out of Euston and even the occasional passenger turn on the local services from Euston to Tring. In October 1969 8001 moved to Toton followed by reallocation to Tinsley a year later in October 1970, used predominantly on coal trains. There then followed a move north of the border to Haymarket in 1971 which was to be short lived as 8001 moved back to Toton in March 1973 and in March of that year was allocated the TOPS code 20001.In July 1975, 20001 was placed into stored serviceable status at Westhouses for a couple of months, before a return to service in October of that year back on coal trains. It was back to Tinsley again in November 1978 and in early 1980, 20001 entered Glasgow works for a general classified overhaul, returning to traffic in March. 

In mid 1984, the fitting of dual brakes and slow speed control was undertaken upon which a return to Toton for MGR work took place in September followed by a brief spell based at Bescot. During 1985 Toton starting semi permanent pairings for 20’s and 20001 was paired for some time with fellow pilot scheme locomotive 20016. In 1988 20001 was finally withdrawn from BR service and used as a Toton training locomotive, on paper numbered ADB968029, but never displayed on the loco.

The loco was repainted in 1989 and supplied for the Midland Railway Centre gala and it was at this event the Class 20 Locomotive Society (CTLS) attempted to purchase 20001, unsuccessfully.

20001 returned to Toton, housed under cover in the test house and was well cared for, joined for a short while by 20032 until reinstated.

20001 was joined in the training pool by 20227 and after many months was finally purchased by the CTLS in November 1991, moving to the Midland Railway Centre at Butterley and into preservation. In 1992 work beckoned again, this time working Channel Tunnel Rail Link wiring trains as part of a pool of Class 20s on hire. This was a prestigious contract for the CTLS and the revenues helped pay for a full bogie overhaul after return to preservation. 20001 has has visited many lines for galas and spent some time at both the Ecclesbourne Railway and now, the Epping Ongar Railway.

Class 20 locomotive 20001

We are delighted to welcome green liveried D8001 (20001) 'back home' (well almost within the sound of Bow Bells if the wind is blowing in the right direction). This loco has undergone extensive restoration and an engine overhaul over the past few years and we are very grateful to the Class 20 Locomotive Society for deciding to base this iconic locomotive with us, which celebrated it's 60th birthday in 2017.

Status: In traffic.