Main Line Preserved Class 47s
Of the Class 47s in preservation, five have been recertified for main line running on the national network, with four of them still certified for use on Network Rail metals. The Stratford 47 Group’s 47580 County of Essex spent several years on hire to West Coast Railways, where it was used on a variety of workings. Its hire period has now ended and the locomotive returned to its home base on the Mid-norfolk Railway last year after undergoing repairs at Nemesis Rail.
The owning group has stated that while 47580 remains registered for main line use, any future use is likely to be limited, as the existing tyres on the bogies are close to the minimum tolerances for main line running. Two main line-registered preserved Class 47s are currently on hire to Locomotive Services Ltd, with the Crewe Diesel Preservation Group’s Scotrail-liveried 47712 Lady Diana Spencer and D05 Preservation Ltd’s 47828 both currently residing with LSL’S varied operational fleet at Crewe Diesel Depot.
At the time of writing, 47712 is out of traffic at Crewe awaiting the fitting of new tyres, but 47828 – carrying Intercity colours – makes regular appearances on LSL trains working alongside the operator’s own fleet of Class 47 and other heritage modern traction locomotives. 47828 was also used on hire to WCRC before it moved to LSL. Another preserved main line-registered Class 47 which makes occasional appearances on Network Rail metals is 47773, which is based at Tyseley Locomotive Works and operated by TLW’S Vintage Trains operation. 47773 was recently repainted in two-tone green at Kidderminster Diesel Depot on the Severn Valley Railway before returning to its home base at Tyseley.
The National Railway Museum’s 47798 was also main line-registered for a time and saw some use both on heritage railways and the main line, including a spell on hire to West Coast Railways. Following a change in the NRM’S policy in respect of its heritage diesel traction fleet, the locomotive has not worked for some time and is currently on display in the main hall at the Railway Museum in York.