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Find out why the ultra-durable Class 47 was made in vast numbers – and how long it survived as a stalwart of the diesel age.
The British Rail Class 47 Diesel Locomotive was a Co-Co configuration diesel-electric engine built by Brush Traction at Crewe and Loughborough between 1962 and 1968.
Designed for passenger as well as freight services as a true ‘workhorse’ of the BR network, over 500 of these highly durable engines were built with the original objective of removing steam engines from Britain’s railways, and some saw regular service well into the 2000s.
The long lifespan of the Class 47 meant that it was lack of spare parts – rather than lack of reliability – that forced its retirement. Engines with non-standard equipment were initially withdrawn as part of a gradual programme that continued until 2006.