Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Bunch of Fives

Class 05, Nº DL26, in BR Black livery at Didcot
11136, later renumbered D2550 shunting at Ipswich.
CJM Collection
Rear view of Nº DL26 at Didcot
Nº DL26, in BR Black livery at Didcot
Adrian Griffith
The British Rail Class 05 diesel-mechanical shunters were built by the Hunslet Engine Company of Leeds between 1955 and 1961 and they were mainly used on the Eastern and Scottish Regions of BR.
The class was not a great success because the gear change mechanism was awkward to operate. Most of the class was, therefore, subjected to an early withdrawal and were replaced by Classes 03 and 04. 
However, there was one member of the class that survived and this was Nº: D2554, which was transferred to the Isle of Wight in 1966. 
Here it was put to use assisting with the electrification of the Island Line. It was soon after being transferred that it was allocated the TOPS Nº: 05 001, the only member of the class to receive a TOPS number. It then remained in service until the mid 1980's before being sold to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. 
It is now named 'Nuclear Fred' and can frequently be seen working on the Island railway but, sadly, it is unable to haul passenger trains because the railway has old, air-braked stock whilst the loco is fitted with vacuum train brakes.
Three other Class 05s have also been preserved and these are:
D2578 'Cider Queen'
D2587 at the Heritage Shunters Trust
D2595 at Ribble Steam Railway.
The production run of 120 locomotives featured two slightly different designs which, chiefly, involved the arrangement of the cab windows and a different wheel diameter. However, there were also changes in the design of the buffer beam as well as the style of the buffers.
The fleet was fitted with the same reliable Gardner 8L3 power unit that was fitted to the Class 03 and Class 04 shunters. Originally they were all painted in BR black livery and were, later, repainted into standard loco green.
As far as I can ascertain no-one has, to date, produced a model of a Class 05.
The full loco specification is given below:


  1. Judith Edge do an etched brass kit for the Hunslet and from experience of recently breaking my kit-building 'cherry' with their Vanguard 0-4-0 kit, the kits go together very easily (although soldering is a requirement, obviously).

  2. Hi Stopadoodledoo, thanks for the comment. I didn't know that there was a Class 05 kit available although I am not surprised that there is. Thank you for enlightening me.