The most numerous class in BR service and in preservation

The roots of the Class 08 can be traced back to LMS and it is quiet staggering that the development of a class of locomotive dating back to 1945 is still operational in numbers across today’s railway network and in preservation 75 years later.

An essential addition to any preservation centre

Preserved railways all over the country soon realised that having a decent shunting locomotive would be advantageous and the KWVR is no exception, with two examples in the diesel fleet.

Data File

Built: 1957, Darlington
Engine: English Electric 6KT of 298 kW (400hp) at 680rpm
Transmission: Electric. Two EE 506 axle-hung
Weight 50 Tons
Max. T.E.: 35,000 lbf.
Cont. T.E.: 11,100 lbf at 8.8 mph.
MaxSpeed: 15mph
Numbers carried during working career: 13336, D3336, 08266

Total of 1,193 built of Class 08 and the similar 09 and 10 classes

This class of engine was first introduced to the British Railways network in 1952 as a development of the LMS 12033 series, the culmination of over 20 years’ work by English Electric in partnership with the pre nationalisation big four companies. The pioneer locomotive, number 13000, was built in 1952 although it did not enter service until 1953. Production continued until 1962 with 996 locomotives produced, making it the most numerous of all British locomotive classes. As the standard BR general-purpose diesel shunter, the class became a familiar sight at major stations and freight yards.

D3336 / 08 266

No. D3336 was completed at Darlington works as 13336 in 1957, it being the last example of the class to be turned out in black. All subsequent engines being turned out in the British Railways standard green.

No. 13336 went new to Sheffield Darnall shed for three months before being transferred to London Kings Cross in May 1957 but returned there in 1958 by which time it had been renumbered D3336. During the 1970s was once again the engine was renumbered, now to 08 266 under the new TOPS system. In May 1964 the engine was transferred to its penultimate depot,  Tinsley (Sheffield), when this opened to traffic, where it would remain until August 1981.

After 28 years’ service, 08 266 and was finally withdrawn from Shirebrook in Nottinghamshire in 1985, being sent to the Swindon scrap line from where it was rescued by the KWVR.

D3759 / 08 993

As D3759, the locomotive left Crewe Works in October 1959 as a standard Class 08. This number was carried until December 1973 when it was renumbered as 08 592. After running for 12 years as 08 592 the locomotive was withdrawn from traffic but rather than being condemned to the cutters torch or service privately, the locomotive was chosen to be one of five class 08’s to be rebuilt into a Class 08/9 – receiving cut down cabs, reducing their height to 11ft 9in, to allow their use on the old Burry Port & Gwendraeth Valley line in South Wales. Having been laid on parts of a former canal system, the old BP&GVR suffered from a number of low bridges, and hence the need for locomotives with a lower headroom clearance.

08 993 has carried two names in its lifetime one being ‘Olive’. In 1986 it gained the name ‘Ashburnham’ which it still carries today.

08 993 survived privatisation and went into EWS ownership and worked on shunting duties in various yards around the country. In 2007 the remaining 3 class 08/9’s helped with the track laying project on the Manchester Metrolink, their main job being hauling new track sections and ballast to the various sites along the system.

In that year EWS was bought by Deutsche Bahn and rebranded DB Schenker UK. A further rebrand as DB Cargo, 08 993 worked at various yards but mainly at Doncaster Carr depot where it worked up until the Depot’s closure on the 30th April 2014. Its final journey was by road to Stoke a couple of days later where it sent the rest of its working life before being put up for sale in May 2015.

A shunting locomotive at the flick of a switch

Even the smallest of steam locomotives need to time to warm through and build up steam so it wasn’t a surprise that preserved railways all over the country soon realised that it was essential to have an engine on tap, to undertake tasks, without the long process of raising steam.

The KWVR was no exception to this and took delivery of its first Class 08 shunter in 1981 with a second following in 2015.

D3336 / 08 266

After No. 08 226 was withdrawn on 17th March 1985, it was sent to Swindon from where the KWVR rescued it from the scrap-line at the end of that year. The engine has found useful work, predominantly shunting the heavy steam locomotives around Haworth Yard and occasionally undertaking works-train duties. On rare occasion (usually special events) it has been seen hauling passenger services on the line. These are usually shuttle services between Keighley and lngrow or full line trips after the last scheduled train has finished. Its use on passenger services is very limited due to its low maximum speed of 15 mph.

By 2015, now 68 years old, having worked hard on the KWVR, 08 226 was showing its age and an assessment showed that extensive work would be required to keep. With a plentiful supply of replacement locomotives still on the national network, the decision was made to replace the engine with one being retired by EWS.

However 08 226 was reprieved and remains in the KWVR fleet alongside its newer 08 companion. In 2016, with the arrival of 08 993, and the paintwork showing years of hard work on the Railway, the opportunity was taken to repaint the now reprieved engine into two-tone grey livery.

D3759 / 08 993

With the Railway’s existing Class 08 shunter, 08 266, requiring extensive work, the Railway decided to purchase a further example, 08 993 arriving by road at Haworth in October 2015.

This locomotive has the advantage over its stablemate in that it is being dual braked, a useful attribute for shunting any air braked only vehicles, e.g. cranes. Having worked for 56 years the locomotive was in need of considerable attention. After receiving an engine overhaul by shed staff in Haworth works, the engine received a fresh coat of EWS Maroon and Gold Livery and renamed ‘Ashburnham’.