On 1-3 June 2018, the Watercress Line welcomes a huge array of historic diesel engines, as part of its annual Diesel Gala, including BR Class 20 Bo-Bo diesel-electric locomotive, D8059, and freight work locomotive, D8001.
D8059 was formerly known as an English Electric Type 1. Weighing 73 tonnes and delivering 1,000 horsepower, it was designed to work light mixed freight traffic at up to 75 mph. It has the well-used nickname of “Chopper”, due to the distinctive engine beat under load which resembles the sound of a helicopter. The locomotive is now known as 20059, having been renumbered in 1973 under TOPS and is owned by the Somerset and Dorset Locomotive Company and currently based on the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway.
BR Class 20 Bo-Bo diesel – electric locomotive, D8059 (20059). Photo © David Coombs.
D8001 was built by English Electric (EE) in 1957 at the Vulcan Foundry in Newton le Willows and was one of a prototype batch of Class 20 locomotives which owed its origins to the 1955 modernisation plan, in which manufacturers were asked to produce trial builds for evaluation. The design was based on one which EE had designed for export and consequently proved extremely successful at home. The prototype batch was first allocated to Devons Road Depot in London (which was the first purpose built diesel depot in the UK) and the locomotives of this class were eventually used throughout almost the entire network. D8001 worked in the construction of the Channel Tunnel and was for some time at the Midland Railway Centre, Butterley. This loco also had a brief spell at Washwood Heath in 2011 for an engine overhaul.
Tickets cost £25 for adults and £13 for children with discounted family packages available. To find out more, including diesel engine, parking and ticket information, visit: https://www.watercressline.co.uk/product.php/106/diesel-gala-2018.