D1705 – Sparrowhawk

Class 47 D1705, a Brush Type 4, was built in 1965 by Brush at its Loughborough Works with works number BS467/1965. Its first British Rail number was D1705. It was one of five locomotives to be built with a Vee Sulzer engine type 12LVA24, the same engine used in the 10 locomotives exported to Cuba and a common engine inFrance.

It was built with a Spanner Mark III steam heat boiler. The generator differed from that fitted to the standard Class 47s as the engine rotated clockwise instead of anticlockwise. The remainder of the equipment was standard with the rest of the fleet.

It entered traffic in November, 1965 and was allocated officially to Tinsley, but outstationed at Shirebrook, followed by a move to Norwich, then to Stratford in 1969, only to be returned to Tinsley in 1970.

D1705 was converted to a standard Class 47, with a Sulzer type 12LDA28C engine in April, 1971 at Crewe. Prior to this it was known as a Class 48 but it was converted back to the standard configuration before it carried a TOPS number. When finally it was renumbered it carried 47 117, the only other number it has carried.

It was the last Class 47 to provide steam heat, and still has a complete Spanner Mark III boiler although this is currently unserviceable.

At Tinsley it was unofficially named “Sparrowhawk” and this was painted onto the body side in white. At some time it had a knock and the cab was replaced with one without the head code recess.

D1705 was withdrawn with electrical faults in 1991 and purchased by Pete Waterman in 1993 who had ideas to re-install the VEE engine and convert it back to a Class 48. A new AVR was installed and it became operational again, and was based on the East Lancashire Railway at Bury.

It arrived at the Great Central Railway in 1996 for a gala, on hire from Mr Waterman. During its visit it was offered for sale and without the need to pay for transport costs the Type One Locomotive Company bought it.

It was used in the testing of the Class 57s at Loughborough in 1998, by which time it had lost its faded BR Blue for two tone Green. It later carried full yellow ends for a period; this was done at the request of the BBC who wanted it for an episode of Casualty where an ambulance appeared to crash through Beeches Road overbridge and, after the train had passed, land on the track.

It lost the non standard end after a low speed collision, when BR Standard 5MT 73156 was pushed into the front, the replacement panel being acquired from Brush during the conversion of another batch of Class 57s, this time for Virgin.

It has been returned to 1960s green with the small yellow panel, and officially named “Sparrowhawk” on 19th June, 2004, by Pete Waterman on the platform at Loughborough Central. The plate and position is in the standard Great Western font and location as only green locomotives allocated to them were named.

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