Wednesbury locomotives in 1976

Sixty different locos feature in the three tables of train movements through Wednesbury in 1976. This table lists the nine which survived until March 2020, over 44 years later.

Of those nine locos, the situation in spring 2020 was as follows: six were in active commercial use (up from five in autumn 2016), five of them mainline certified; one was preserved; one was stored; and one was withdrawn. Given that over forty-four years have elapsed since 1976, and none of these locos were new even then, nine out of sixty (or 15%) isn't a bad survival rate for what is - in effect - a random sample of locomotives found in the Black Country in the mid-1970s. That six of them were still in commercial use - albeit rather more sporadically than under British Rail - is incredible really.

Loco Status Comments
08588 Operational This loco had migrated to Haymarket (Edinburgh) by 1983, but two years later it was taken out of traffic. It was subsequently overhauled and fitted with dual-brakes, and in 1990 it was allocated to Thornaby (Middlesbrough). It subsequently moved south to Neville Hill (Leeds). By 2003 it had been taken out of traffic again, and it was moved to the Wabtec railway works in Doncaster. Latterly in the ownership of hire company "RT Rail" this loco was overhauled and returned to traffic in the spring of 2006, at which time it was being used at Peak Forest. In subsequent years it worked at a number of locations around the country. By 2020 RT Rail had become part of BARS/RMS Locotec, and 08588 was on hire to Network Rail at Derby.
08765 Stored The number of shunting locos operated by British Rail fell steadily between 1976 and 1995 when the railways were privatised. Most of what was left eventually passed into the hands of EWS, but in 2004 and 2005 a significant number of those locos were taken out of use, leaving just 50 or so in traffic. The remaining locos were often swapped with stored examples as maintenance and operational needs dictated. 08765 was one of the EWS survivors, and it remained a Bescot engine until well into the 21st century. In it's last years working for EWS it was used in a number of locations around the south of England, eventually migrating to Eastleigh where it was operational in May 2006. By July 2008 it had been put into store at Eastleigh. Subsequently sold to HNRC in 2011 it was eventually repaired and painted in their orange livery. In spring 2020 it was located at Barrow Hill, where it had been for several years.
08783 Withdrawn This was another of the EWS survivors, but unlike 08765 it roamed far and wide in the intervening years. In 1983 it was allocated to Derby, and in 1985 Tinsley (Sheffield). By 1990 it was still heading north and had reached Holbeck (Leeds) - and by 1992 it was allocated to Knottingley. After a spell out of traffic it became an Immingham loco sometime around 2000, but by 2003 it had migrated south to Wembley where it was withdrawn in 2004. By chance 08783 was back in the Black Country in late July 2005, spending a week back at Bescot before being re-instated to traffic and moved to Hams Hall to shunt intermodal trains. It was still working at Hams Hall in May 2006, but by July 2008 it was in store at Toton. Sold to EMR in 2011 it was still extant at Kingsbury at the end of 2019.
20007 Mainline operational Despite their age many Class 20s survived in traffic until the early 1990s, outliving most of the other small modernisation diesels by several years. 20007 was withdrawn in 1993, and was subsequently bought for preservation. As of May 2006 it was located at the Churnet Valley Railway, but in autumn 2007 it moved to the Great Central Railway (North) at Nottingham. It was subsequently acquired by Michael Owen, and in 2015 was taken to St Leonards for overhaul. It was subsequently registered for mainline use in 2018.
20142 Mainline operational This loco was withdrawn in 1992, and subsequently sold into preservation, during which time it was hired out for use on the Channel Tunnel high speed line construction works. It was based at the Llangollen Railway until late 2008, at which point it was sold. It subsequently became an operational loco on the mainline once again, and in 2013 this 47 year old loco was running around in BR blue livery while on hire to GBRf. Owned by Michael Owen, by spring 2020 it was still mainline-certified, and still carrying the dark red LT livery it had worn since August 2016.
25262 Preserved This loco was one of twelve Class 25s to be re-numbered into the 25/9 series in 1985. 25262 became 25901 and was one of the last Class 25s in traffic, surviving until early 1987. It was subsequently sold into preservation, and from 1999 was based at the South Devon Railway under the care of the SDDT. It was still based there in spring 2020.
37183 Mainline operational This loco was transferred to Eastfield in 1982. In 1988 it was refurbished and re-numbered to 37884, at which point it returned to Wales and was allocated to Cardiff. In the following three or four years it would often have visited Wednesbury on metals workings from South Wales. In 2001 it was taken out of traffic and selected as one of the locos to be exported to Spain as part of a contract to work engineering trains. It left Britain in the summer of 2001, and its new operator ("GIF") gave it the number L34. After some years out of use the remaining Spanish 37s were re-patriated to England in 2012, with 37884 subsequently moved from Dollands Moor to EMR Kingsbury in December 2012. From there it was purchased by Europhoenix in August 2013. By autumn 2016 it was once again operational on the mainline, on hire to the Rail Operations Group, and in regular use hauling EMUs around the country for maintenance. It was still fulfilling this role in the spring of 2020.
47254 Mainline operational 47254 was fitted with electric train heat and re-numbered to 47651 in 1986. Three years later it was fitted with extra fuel tanks and re-numbered once again to 47806. In 2003 the bodyshell was fitted with a new engine, and effectively re-built as 57309. At this point it became a Virgin Trains' "Thunderbird" locomotive, and was renamed "Brains" after the bespectacled genius from the 1960s Gerry Anderson puppet series. By April 2012 it was no longer required by Virgin, and went on lease to DRS, who named it "Pride of Crewe". One of several DRS 57/3s used for West Coast mainline Thunderbird duties, it was still performing this role in spring 2020.
47554 Mainline operational 47554 was re-numbered to 47705 in 1979, and spent most of the 1980s working passenger trains in Scotland. Like 47254 this loco was re-built as a Class 57 in 2003, this one becoming becoming 57303. Like 57309 this loco was also in regular use a "Thunderbird" loco, and named "Alan Tracy" after the pilot of Thunderbird 3. By September 2011 it was no longer required by Virgin, and having been de-named was taken on by Network Rail. Acquired by DRS in 2014 it remained an active member of their fleet in spring 2020.

When this page was first created in 2005 there were seventeen survivors, but eight of them had been scrapped by the last revision in October 2016. For the record those eight were...

47531 (renumbered 47775) by HNRC at Crewe in April 2006;
47280 at EMR Kingsbury in December 2007;
37114 at EMR Kingsbury in January 2008;
20139 (renumbered as CFD 2003) at EMR Kingsbury in May 2010;
47289 at Thompson's Stockton in December 2010;
08827 at EMR Kingsbury in September 2011;
20128 (renumbered 20307) at Booth's Rotherham in May 2013.
20092 at EMR Kingsbury, believed circa September 2016.

Interestingly no more had been scrapped between autumn 2016 and spring 2020.