Friday, July 1, 2011

Three, Cheers!

D2133 on the West Somerset Railway
03 084 with dual brakes and high level air pipes fitted
03 099 with vacuum brakes fitted
D2069 at Doncaster Works
Phil Scott
The Class 03 diesel shunter was built by British Railways at both Swindon and Doncaster between 1957 and 1962There were 230 of these little 0-6-0's built and they were, without doubt, one of BRs most successful small shunters.
As with Classes 01 and 02 the Class 03 was built for use where larger locomotives and, even, larger shunters, such as the Class 08, could not go.
As such their duties included working at various docks, shunting duties at goods yards, occasional freight trips and work as station and depot pilots. Class 03s were even used to haul boat trains along Weymouth Quay during the 1970s.
The gradual reduction in the number of duties that required these shunters meant that they were progressively withdrawn from the late 1960s onwards with many being sold into private industry. Virtually all of the class had been withdrawn from BR by the late 1980s, however, two of them remained in operation on the Isle of Wight until 1993, these being Nºs: 03 079 and 03 179. 
In 1998 03 179 was then brought back into service by the West Anglia Great Northern Railway for use at their Hornsey Depot. This, now, remains as the last Class 03 operating on the national rail network. It is named Clive and, as far as I am aware, is currently owned by First Capital Connect.
Fortunately, some 55 examples of the Class 03 shunters have been preserved and, as far as OO gauge models are concerned, Mainline used to produce one before Bachmann acquired the tooling. They have since released a model of the Class 03 in various liveries.
The complete loco specification is given in the table below:

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