Class 20 Diesel at Llangollen

British Rail Class 20 Diesel Locomotive

Explore the 1000-horsepower English Electric Type 1 and its extended service life as a freight-hauling workhorse.

English Electric Type 1

The British Rail Class 20 Diesel Locomotive – also known as the English Electric Type 1 – was built in large numbers by English Electric between 1957 and 1968.

Bo-Bo Configuration

This 1000 horsepower, Bo-Bo configuration locomotive had a top speed of up to 75mph, but was primarily designed to work hauling freight services, with only limited application for service with passenger trains.

Freight Locomotive Surplus

Over time, the extension of the motorway network and strong competition from road hauliers left BR with a freight locomotive surplus. However, the Class 20 was able to pull heavier loads and had an extended service life. The class did however find a new lease of life supporting the building of the channel tunnel.


Although over 200 were built, some 25 Class 20 locomotives were preserved and you can see the D8000, the first of the class, at the National Railway Museum in York.


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class 20 speed

Posted on Sunday 21st October 2012 | 3:11 PM

I was a passed fireman at tinsley,one day i was given a job to haul a class47 bound for Bristol,on arrival at Saltley i was given a conductor to Bristol. After we got going i was in no doubt this chap was in a hurry,doing 90 mph down,i asked if he was trained on type 1s he was so i let him get on with it,i must say i was never afraid of speed,and at 90 she was a better ride than 20mph.on the way back light engine to Tinsley still doing 90 she failed at Broomsgrove,

michael john williamson

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