Class 20s have operated the South Yorkshire based RHTT circuits for nigh on 10 years now; the majority of those operated by DRS with the exception of 2011 which was DB Schenker operated with hired in Class 20s. Restrictions for a tunnel on the Penistone line have prevented anything other than 20s or 37s (excluding those with roof mounted horns) from operating over the line.
In the first couple of years of operation, DRS supplied 20301-305 from the initial batch refurbished by Brush Traction as the later 20306-20315 batch refurbished by RFS were heavier. Occasionally supplemented by a 37 or – in 2016 – a 68, that batch of five locos have remained pretty consistent on the turns.
Rumours abound that 2017 is to be their last year of operation so quite what the future holds traction wise, nobody knows!
The two photos below show 20305 (top) and 20302 (bottom) at Sheffield in October 2007.
HNRC conducted a trial, for customer GBRf, of a Class 20 and 47 in multiple. 20’s use the Blue Star system and 47’s use Green Circle and while Blue Star is quite common (fitted to 20s, 31s, 33s, 37s and 73s) it isn’t compatible with Green Circle. With a few modifications and tweaks, the two were made to talk to each other.
This modification is so notable because the two together provide the same power as a Class 66 and therefore a solution to the acute traction shortage that GBRf are currently suffering from.
20118 and 47843 were the two locos chosen for the trial and are seen (below) at Rugeley at the head of 6K50 Toton-Crewe and (bottom) in Crewe Basford Hall Yard (with permission). Not ideal weather for either, but in view of the working, better than nothing!!
Note Basford Hall is a working location and unauthorised access is not permitted.
Pathfinder ran a charter to Beverley just before Christmas and one of the off train options was a tour round TATA’s Scunthorpe steelworks. On the day we found out that the kettle was broken and they would be using the hired in HNRC 20056 as the main train loco. Having done the diesel gala day there before, it was worth another trip.
20056 stands at the AFRPS platform. In the background can be seen the four blast furnaces known as the Four Queens of Ironmaking – Queen Mary, Queen Bess, Queen Anne and Queen Victoria.
20314 and 20311 from the GBRf stable but carrying HNRC orange pass the crossing at Longueville Junction with a Wansford-Peterborough service.
Unfortunately the sun has dipped for the passage of 56301 from the Class 56 Group (via DCR) as it leaves Peterborough NVR with a Wansford bound train.
56301 and 56104 (also visiting courtesy of DCR) back onto the stock for the evening beerex at Wansford station.
Weekend work done, 20314 leads 20311 through the lineside clutter associated with the resignalling and building of Platform 6/7 at Peterborough station, back to the GB shed in Peterborough yard.
After a hiatus of a few years, North Norfolk Railway returned to the diesel gala scene in 2011 with a small gathering of three visiting locos plus the home fleet at the time.
20118 had just become part of the HNRC fleet, leaving its home at the South Devon Railway, former stablemate 37037 was on loan from the South Devon Railway and DRS supplied 37510.
20118 arrives into Weybourne with a service from Holt…
…and then leaves shortly after, heading for Sheringham.
37510 makes its presence known coming up the bank from Sheringham to Weybourne.
37037 (or 6737 if you work in old money) stands at Holt after arriving from Sheringham. It would work back to Sheringham in tandem with 37510.
Considering the lack of diesel galas on the railway for a good number of years prior to this, it was very well attended – no doubt helped by the beautiful weather. The success of it certainly put a few of the “kettle crew” noses out of joint – “they shouldn’t have these smelly diesels on this steam railway” was heard to be uttered from one of the volunteers.
The first ACORP gala weekend was held over the weekend of 24/25 September 2005 and featured a display of locos in the yard at Norwich station and also a series of special trains between Norwich and Great Yarmouth and Norwich and Lowestoft. Finally, there was a number of trains between Norwich and London hauled by 87019 and 87007 open to special ticket holders only.
On the Saturday shuttles were 47832 and 33103 (45112 failed) with 20905 and 20901 appearing on the Sunday.