Model Rail (UK)
Factfile: BR Class 27
Representing a development of the successful Type 2 Bo-bos built during BR’S Pilot Scheme in the 1950s – which later became Class 26 – the Class 27 was also built by Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Works (BRCW). Featuring a 1,250hp Sulzer diesel engine, the Class 27 was introduced in 1961-62 and the main visual difference from its predecessor was the adoption of four-character headcode panels atop the cabs.
A total of 69 examples were constructed, with allocations initially dispersed across England and Scotland. Cricklewood-based locomotives were employed largely on freight and empty coaching stock workings around London, while Thornaby also received a batch, for freight duties around Teeside and the North East. Those sent north of the border, to Glasgow Eastfield depot, enabled steam to be displaced from the West Highland lines.
By the end of the 1960s, the entire class had become concentrated in Scotland, often working the routes from Glasgow Queen Street to Oban, Fort William and Mallaig, until replaced by Class 37s in the mid-1980s.
During the 1970s, pairs of modified Class 27s top-and-tailed rakes of Mk 2 coaches on Glasgowedinburgh express services. These intensive workings proved punishing for these humble Type 2s, with Class 47s taking over in 1980.
The ‘27s’ worked many other passenger, parcels and freight duties over the years, including services from Glasgow to Carlisle via Dumfries and Edinburgh to Dundee, prior to the introduction of new ‘Sprinter’ units in the late 1980s.
The last Class 27s were withdrawn in 1987, but their popularity and versatility is reflected in the fact that eight examples have been preserved.