British Railways Class 20 20227

Built as D8327, the first locomotive purchased by the Class 20 Locomotive Society (CTLS) was the last built. 20227 spent most of its BR service life working in Scotland where the last batch of locomotives were sent. The locomotive sports a revised London Underground Livery.

Class 20 locomotive 20227 Class 20 locomotive 20227

Life started in February 1968 when newly built D8327 was delivered from Vulcan foundry to Polmadie shed in Glasgow. Being the final loco of the English Electric type 1 scheme it was built from new with dual air and vacuum brakes and also fitted with a newly developed slow speed control system. Shortly after, 8327 (with the D prefix now dropped) moved to Haymarket depot to work Fifeshire and Lothian coal trains and in December 1973, 8327 was renumbered to 20227. Apart from this, very little out of the ordinary happened for 15 years until a downfall in work brought about by  the miners strike of 1984 causing 20227 to be reallocated south to Toton in Derbyshire. In March 1985, all the locos sent down in 1984 were sent back north of the border, 20227 was therefore sent to Motherwell, but got reallocated twice in the same month first to Glasgow Eastfield and then "back home" to Haymarket.  At the end of summer1985, 20227 entered Glasgow St Rollox works for a classified intermediate overhaul, emerging in October in the then new yellow, grey and red Railfreight colours. This was 20227's first change of livery having been blue since delivery. 20227 travelled to Toton in May 1988 and remained paired up until July 1989 with 20193, then in turn 20054, 20188 and 20095 until they were all condemned!  

20227's use on passenger trains before 1984 was sparse.  But wishing to make up lost ground then put in a variety of performances, Skegness numerous times in 1984, a number of rescue jobs in Scotland in 1986 and 1988, Derby Crewe/Skegness trains in 1989 and appearing on Gloucester open day shuttles also in 1989. During a brief spell at Bedford during 1989 as a training loco, even venturing out ‘single’ on the Bedford – Bletchley service after a DMU failure and finished off 1990 on the famous Derby to Matlock top and tail trains, with the culmination of the BR passenger days happening in September 1990 with a blast to Skegness and a trip to Lincoln. Three weeks later 20227 was condemned in October 1990.

Although 20227 failed in BR service a few times, mainly due to electrical faults, it was actually  a very reliable loco and condemnation was not on grounds of any defects, purely lack of work. 20227 was moved to the training area at Toton along with sister 20001, with transfer to the CTLS happening in September 1991 and after a freshen up of the Railfreight livery, carried the name ‘Traction’ for a while.

Class 20 locomotive 20227 approaches Ongar Class 20 locomotive 20227 at Ongar

20227 has continued to provide good service to the industry and has probably had the most varied career of any preserved locomotive, from crash testing of coaching stock in 1990 at Derby RTC, London Underground track renewal work during 1993 , channel tunnel wiring trains, Yorkshire RHTT trains in 2011 to S stock delivery trains in 2012. It was the 1993 track renewal work that started a close relationship between London Underground and he CTLS, with 20227 being used since in top and tail mode on heritage trains for many years and the history making ‘Metronome’ tour on the Metropolitan lines where 20227 was the first preserved locomotive to operate ‘main line’ post privatisation, painted in heritage maroon livery to match Sarah Siddens and named ‘Sir John Betjeman’. In recognition of the London Underground 150 year anniversary in 2013, 20227 was painted in modern London Underground livery which she wore until 2017 when she was repainted into a heritage London Underground livery in similar style to the LT Electric Locomotives, and named ‘Sherlock Holmes’.

Current Status: In traffic