Published on 16th June 2018
During the 2018 Diesel Gala Weekend at the West Somerset Railway, the Diesel Electric Preservation Group shed was open for visitors.
With almost all the groups' locomotives out operating on the railway, the shed and yard area was unusually quiet. One resident which has now entered the workshops is Class 47 No.D1661.
The locomotive first arrived on the line on the 28th May 2007 when it was handed over from Porterbrook leasing to the care of the DEPG. Before arriving the 47840 was given a full repaint from British Rail Blue (applied by Virgin Trains as part of their locomotive farewell in 2000) into 1960s Two Tone Green. North Star has carried this livery for all of its 11 years on the West Somerset Railway and has spent pretty much all of those 11 years outside. The weather has taken a toll on the locomotive bodywork, particularly the roof sections which are more prone to corrosion.
The locomotive is now undercover in the DEPG shed and receiving attention to its rotting roof panels and bodywork repairs. Her current coat of paint has served the locomotive well but the time has come to attend to the locomotives bodywork which is showing its age. There is also a spell of maintenance planned for the locomotive's engine while it spends time in the workshops at Williton.
While rubbing the locomotive down a complete paint spectrum of its former liveries has been revealed which provides a rare glimpse into the locomotives life since 1965. In total the loco has carried nine different liveries in its lifetime. Its original base coat is a Brown/ Orange Red Oxide, it then carried Two Tone Green (Yellow Warning Panels), Two Tone Green (Full Yellow Ends), British Rail Blue, Intercity (Yellow Cab Sides), Intercity (Swallow), Virgin Trains (Red/Black), British Rail Blue, and finally back to BR Two Tone Green (Yellow Warning Panels) when it entered preservation.
The Class 47 has always been a genuine Western Region locomotive. It was delivered new to Swansea depot in February 1965 and was named at London Paddington on the 20th March of the same year by Ray Gunter (Minister of Labour), after its naming it hauled the 10:42 'North Star Special' to Bristol where sister locomotive D1662 was named 'Isambard Kingdom Brunel'. In 2002 the locomotive was repainted into its iconic British Rail Blue livery by Virgin Trains as part of their Cross Country Class 47 farewell celebrations.
We have provided a selection of images of the locomotive in action on the mainline in its final years before delivery into the care of the Diesel Electric Preservation Group at Williton in 2007.