Model Rail (UK) - - Virgin Trains at 20 -

‘Thun­der­bird’ has long been an un­of­fi­cial rail­way term for a lo­co­mo­tive used to res­cue an­other, and owes its origins to In­ter­na­tional Res­cue, the or­ga­ni­za­tion that starred in the hit TV show Thun­der­birds. Vir­gin made the term of­fi­cial. All ‘Voy­agers’, ‘Su­per Voy­agers and ‘Pen­dolinos’ were fit­ted with Dell­ner cou­plers, so they could be hauled by a lo­co­mo­tive in the event of a break­down. Vir­gin ac­quired 16 Class 57/3s lo­co­mo­tives (later fit­ted with Dell­ner cou­plers) and gave them names from Thun­der­birds, com­plete with the Thun­der­birds and In­ter­na­tional Res­cue name­plates. The ‘57/3s’ were also used to haul ‘Pen­dolinos’ on non-elec­tri­fied lines be­tween Crewe and Holy­head from 2005, un­til Class 221s took over in 2012. Work for the ‘57/3s’ di­min­ished from 2008, and the last was re­turned to Porter­brook in 2012. 57301-57312 are now used by DRS, and 57313-57316 are part of West Coast Rail­way Com­pany’s fleet.

57309 Brains drags ‘Pen­dolino’ 390047 past Bir­kett Com­mon on the Set­tle & Carlisle with the di­verted 1517 Carlisle-eus­ton, on April 30 2006. ROB FRANCE

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