Locomotive Performance

Class 47: Brush type 4

At the last count, my runs total on the Brush type 4's was almost 300. And that doesn't include my "lost records" period of 1968 to 1977, during which time I travelled between Dorridge and either Paddington or Reading quite frequently.

They were far from being my favourite locomotives, but I have to say that I have never had a locomotive failure behind a 47, and I cannot recall ever having lost time with one.

The "Virgin Cross Country" period has already been dealt with in an earlier edition of Locomotive Performance (Virgin Cross Country 47's..Edition 6), so here we cover the period 1964 to 1990, plus one run in 2000 with a 47res loco. 

My first runs were on the Paddington to Birmingham line in 1964,  shortly after the "Brush type 4's" had taken over the services from the "Western" class Hydraulics. They dealt excellently with the usual 10 to 12 coach trains. From 1967, with the commencement of the Electric services from New Street to Euston, services to Paddington became semi-fasts, with 5 or 6 intermediate stops, and 8 or 9 coach trains. But timings were tight, and the locomotive running was very good. It had to be.
In view of the large number of Performance Logs below, I have only included very brief particulars of each run.
22nd June 1964: D1683 Birmingham Snow Hill to Paddington: Two hours to Paddington with 3 intermediate stops and 3 p.w slowings. 92 mph at Greenford. [view log of D1683]
22nd June 1964: D1740 Paddington to Birmingham Snow Hill: 2 hrs 4 mins to Birmingham on the 8.10pn from Paddington, with 3 intermediate stops, 1 pw slowing, and 1 signal check. 94 mph at Brill.  [view log of D1740]
28th April 1979: 47077 North Star: Worcester to Hereford and later in the day, Birmingham back  to Worcester. The Red Rose Steam Charter.  [view log of 47077]
26th June 1980: 47444 Paddington to Gloucester. Signal checks costing 10 minutes to Swindon, and a long stop outside Gloucester made us 9 minutes late in. But the running was good. Top speed 95 mph at Slough. [view log of 47444]
29th June 1980: 47329 Birmingham to Manchester: Sunday overhead wiring work meant a class 47. 16 early in on the inflated Sunday schedule. [view log of 47329]
9th September 1980: 47403 Crewe to Carnforth and Preston to Crewe: No electric loco available at Crewe for the Cumbrian Mountain Express. Load 12 and a top speed of 95 mph at Norton Crossing northbound. [view log of 47403]
11th October 1980: 47421 Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury and Hereford to Birmingham: Diesel legs of the "Red Dragon" steam charter. 12 coaches and a 52A Gateshead loco. 91 mph at Bransford Road,  [view log of 47421] 
14th March 1981: 47194 Hereford to Shrewsbury: 48 min 10 secs on the "Welsh Marches Express", with load 11. My record time.  [view log of 47194]
19th April 1981: To Falkirk from Edinburgh to join the Fair Maid steam railtour. And back again in the evening. My only 47 runs in Scotland. Top speed 93 mph on the return. 47701 Edinburgh to Falkirk [view log of 47701] and 47708 Falkirk to Edinburgh [view log of 47708]  
10th March 1984: 47444 Carlisle to Ayr..SLOA "Sou Wester Express". 11 coach load. Top speed 75 mph. Loco named "University of Nottingham"  [view log of 47444] 
17th March 1984: 47146 Hereford to Birmingham: The "Welsh Marches Express". 11 coaches. Route via Worcester and Bromsgrove. [view log of 47146] 
21st July 1984: 47439 Winchester to Birmingham International: Coming home from the Mid Hants Railway. The 4.20pm Weymouth to Liverpool. Load 9. Top speed 90 mph at Fosse Road. Punctual throughout. [view log of 47439]  
13th October 1984: 47096 Llandudno Junction to Blaenau Ffestiniog (25059 pilot) and return to Llandudno Junction: Enjoyable trip on the Birmingham Railway Museum charter to Blaenau Ffestiniog and Porthmadog, taking in the Ffestiniog Railway. [view log of 47096]
2nd February 1985: 47606 Birmingham to Newport..SLOA "Red Dragon", 100 mph at Eckington and a fast run from Gloucester to Newport. [view log of 47606]
1st June 1985: 47571 Bournemouth to Reading. A Stratford loco on the 2.40pm Poole to Liverpool. 74 mph at Roundwood summit. [view log of 47571] 
7th June 1986: 47564 Folkestone to Bromley: Returning home after a day on the R.H.D.R, I caught the 5.45pm Dover to Manchester as far as Bromley. 88 mph at Smeeth and 89 mph at Swifts Green. And 62 mph "up the hill" to Sevenoaks. [view log of 47564]
30th July 1988: 47658 Leeds to Tamworth: A 9 coach load. Punctual with a top speed of 89 mph north of Derby. Returning home from the Worth Valley Railway. [view log of 47658]
17th September 1988: 47625 Birmingham International to Winchester: Who said "City of Truro" never reached 102 mph?. Well it did on this run. 103 mph in fact, at Wallers Ash. But even this is controversial, since there are known to be milepost discrepancies in the Wallers Ash area. No need to say where I was heading. But I always enjoyed the "Alder Valley" bus ride from Winchester to Alresford.  [view log of 47625]
8th December 1988: 47547 Waterloo to Sherborne: One of three 47's working on the Waterloo to Exeter line at the time. They were being compared with the 50's but had to retreat second best. But there was not a lot in it. On the 11.10am from Waterloo, with load 9, top speed was 94 mph beyond Hook.  [view log of 47547]
7th January 1989: 47547 Salisbury to Axminster: The same loco gave me a nice run on 11.05am Brighton to Plymouth a month later. 89 mph near Crewkerne. [view log of 47547]
11th March 1989: 47659 Tamworth to Leeds: Off to the Worth Valley Spring Gala, on the 6.16am Bristol to York. Only 6 coaches. 89 mph at Wingfield and again at Hasland. 4 p.w slowings between Sheffield and Wakefield. 1 min late in. [view log of 47659]
15th April 1989:: 47527 Banbury to Basingstoke: The 6.41am Wolverhampton to Poole. 9 coaches. Top speed 98 mph at Kidlingtom and again at Tilehurst. [view log of 47527]
15th April 1989: 47591 Basingstoke to Banbury: 4.40pm Poole to Liverpool, Load 9. Fast time Oxford to Banbury, 18 min 45 secs. Top speed 92 mph  Cholsey. [view log of 47591]

30th September 1989: 47577 Manchester to Birmingham: The the 5.18pm from Manchester, load 9. Good running south of Crewe. 76 mph past Madeley, and 100 mph at Badnall Wharf. Punctual into Birmingham. [view log of 47577]  

25th November 1989: 47810 Sherborne to Basingstoke: Expecting a 50, 47810 turned up with a rake of IC Mk2 FO's. Don't know the reason. 86 mph at Dinton. [view log of 47810]

15th September 1990: 47482 Wareham to Banbury: Returning from a day on the Swanage Railway. 4.20pm Weymouth to Manchester. Load 8. Good running throughout. Max 86 mph Lyndhurst Road and 94 mph Cholsey. [view log of 47482]
21st December 1990: 47490 Nuneaton to Stafford: A Christmas shopping trip to Chester, using a Euston to Holyhead service from Nuneaton. But Overhead wire problems at Colwich meant a "drag" between Nuneaton and Stafford. It made my day. [view log of 47490]
29th May 2000: 47749 Atlantic College. Bristol Parkway to Barnt Green: On Pathfinder Tours "Severn-Dee Borderer" (Steam section 60532 Blue Peter) the 47 had a 445/465 ton  load, and ran well, with a stop at Cheltenham, to Barnt Green, where I alighted. Top speed 91 mph at Cam. [view log of 47749]
At the time of writing this page (October 2004), the opportunities to travel behind a Brush Type 4 are diminishing by the day. But for 40 years, they have given distinguished service to our Railway. Hopefully a few will do so for a few years yet. 

Click here for the The Brush Type 4 Fund website