|British Rail Class 08|
08801 at Penzance station in 1990
The British Rail Class 08 is a class of diesel-electric shunting locomotive built by British Railways (BR). As the standard BR general-purpose diesel shunter, the class became a familiar sight at major stations and freight yards. Since their introduction in 1952 however, the nature of rail traffic in Britain has changed considerably. Freight trains are now mostly fixed rakes of wagons, and passenger trains are mostly multiple units, neither requiring the attention of a shunting locomotive. Consequently, a large proportion of the class has been withdrawn from mainline use and stored, scrapped, exported or sold to industrial or heritage railways.
As of 2020, around 100 locomotives remained working on industrial sidings and on the main British network. On heritage railways, they have become common, appearing on many of the preserved standard-gauge lines in Britain, with over 70 preserved including the first one built.
The Class 08 design was based on the LMS 12033 series (later TOPS Class 11) design. There were also 26 of the near-identical but higher-geared Class 09, and 171 similar locomotives fitted with different engines and transmissions (some of which became Class 10), which together brought the total number of outwardly-similar machines to 1,193.
The pioneer locomotive, number 13000, was built in 1952 although it did not enter service until 1953. Production continued until 1962 with 996 locomotives produced, making it the most numerous of all British locomotive classes.
In 1985, three locomotives were reduced in height for use on the Burry Port and Gwendraeth Valley Railway in south west Wales, and became Class 08/9. The remainder of the class were reclassified as sub-class 08/0. A further two were converted to 08/9s in 1987.
The first locomotive to be withdrawn was D3193 in 1967. Four other machines were withdrawn before TOPS reclassification in 1973. Withdrawals continued in subsequent decades until by the beginning of the 1990s most of the class hd been withdrawn. As part of the privatisation of British Rail in the mid-1990s most of the survivors passed to EWS with some going to passenger operators for use as depot shunters. At the same time as the withdrawals, many were purchased by heritage railways.
In mid-2008, EWS had over forty class 08s in operation, with a greater number stored. Freightliner also had about five in operation, as did locomotive company Wabtec Rail. FirstGroup operated fewer than five; additionally, some work at industrial sidings - two for Foster Yeoman, one for Mendip Rail, one for Corus, one at ICI Wilton, two for English China Clays, amongst others. A few other businesses in railway-related business operated single examples.
Sixteen English Electric 060DE 350 hp locomotives based on the Class 11/Class 08 design, but modified for 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) gauge, were built new and exported 1951-53 to Australia, entering service on the Victorian Railways as the F class.
Five examples of the Class 08 were exported to Liberia; numbers: 3047, 3092, 3094, 3098 and 3100. All five locos remain in Liberia and have been considerably robbed of parts in the intervening years.
As the standard general-purpose diesel shunter on BR, almost any duty requiring shunting would involve a Class 08; thus the many locations where 2 portions of a train were merged, or where additional stock was added to a train, were hauled (briefly) by a Class 08, thus the class was a familiar sight at many major stations and terminals.
There were variations on the basic design, which were given the following TOPS design codes:
|TOPS design code||Electrical system||Max speed||Weight||Brakes||Route availability||Notes|
|08-0AV||90 V||20 mph (32 km/h)||49.8 long tons (50.6 t; 55.8 short tons)||vacuum||5|
|08-0BX||110 V||20 mph (32 km/h)||50.4 long tons (51.2 t; 56.4 short tons)||dual||5|
|08-0CA||90 V||20 mph (32 km/h)||49.6 long tons (50.4 t; 55.6 short tons)||air||5|
|08-0DV||90 V||15 mph (24 km/h)||49.8 long tons (50.6 t; 55.8 short tons)||vacuum||5|
|08-0BX||90 V||15 mph (24 km/h)||50.4 long tons (51.2 t; 56.4 short tons)||dual||5|
|08-0FA||90 V||15 mph (24 km/h)||49.6 long tons (50.4 t; 55.6 short tons)||air||5|
|08-0KX||110 V||15 mph (24 km/h)||50.4 long tons (51.2 t; 56.4 short tons)||dual||5|
|08-0LX||110 V||15 mph (24 km/h)||50.4 long tons (51.2 t; 56.4 short tons)||dual||5||Scharfenberg coupler adapter fitted|
|08-0MA||110 V||15 mph (24 km/h)||49.8 long tons (50.6 t; 55.8 short tons)||air||5|
|08-0NA||90 V||15 mph (24 km/h)||49.8 long tons (50.6 t; 55.8 short tons)||air||5||fitted with Buckeye couplings|
|08-0PA||90 V||15 mph (24 km/h)||51.0 long tons (51.8 t; 57.1 short tons)||air||6||fitted with Buckeye couplings|
|08-0QA||90 V||15 mph (24 km/h)||51.0 long tons (51.8 t; 57.1 short tons)||air||6||fitted with Buckeye couplings|
|08-0RA||110 V||15 mph (24 km/h)||51.0 long tons (51.8 t; 57.1 short tons)||air||6||fitted with Buckeye couplings|
|08-0SA||110 V||15 mph (24 km/h)||49.0 long tons (49.8 t; 54.9 short tons)||air||6|
Class 08/9 locomotives were modified from the standard class by being given headlights and cut-down bodywork in which the overall height was reduced to 11' 10" (3.61 m), for use on the Burry Port and Gwendraeth Valley Railway up to Cwm Mawr. In 2007, three were used on infrastructure trains on the Manchester Metrolink.
|TOPS design code||Electrical system||Max speed||Weight||Brakes||Notes|
|08-9AV||90 V||15 mph (24 km/h)||49.8 long tons (50.6 t; 55.8 short tons)||vacuum brakes||08991 converted from 08203|
08992 converted from 08259
|08-9CX||90 V||15 mph (24 km/h)||50.4 long tons (51.2 t; 56.4 short tons)||dual brakes||08993 converted from 08592|
|08-9DA||90 V||15 mph (24 km/h)||49.6 long tons (50.4 t; 55.6 short tons)||air brakes||08 994 converted from 08462|
08 995 converted from 08687
Six Class 08 units were adapted for a specialist role at Tinsley Marshalling Yard, where there was a requirement for more powerful shunters. These locomotives were permanently coupled together in pairs as a 'master and slave' (or 'cow and calf'), the latter with its cab removed, and reclassified as the Class 13. All have since been scrapped.
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08886 EMR Kingsbury 20/5/16 for scrap.
|TOPS number range||Operators||Comments|
|08389, 08405, 08495, 08500, 08567, 08593, 08605, 08623, 08653, 08706, 08714, 08735, 08804, 08905||DB Cargo UK|
|08571, 08596, 08615||Wabtec Rail|
|08428, 08578, 08630, 08802, 08865, 08879, 08904, 08924, 08943, 08994||Harry Needle Railroad Company|
|08525, 08690, 08908, 08950||East Midlands Railway|
|08530, 08531, 08575, 08585, 08624, 08691, 08764, 08785, 08891||Freightliner|
|08410, 08483, 08641, 08643, 08644, 08645 St Piran, 08822, 08836,||Great Western Railway|
|08616, 08805||West Midlands Trains|
|08754 & 08847 (Crown Point TMD), 08573 (Ilford EMU Depot)||Abellio Greater Anglia|
|08308, 08788||Abellio ScotRail|
|08451, 08454, 08611, 08696, 08721, 08790, 08887, 08934||Avanti West Coast|
|08418, 08485, 08678||West Coast Railways|
|08682||Derby Litchurch Lane Works|
|08220, 08441, 08484, 08511, 08580, 08632, 08683, 08703, 08709, 08752,
||Rail Support Services|
|08737||Locomotive Services Limited|
Continuing in its designed-for role as a shunter, the Class 08 has been found useful by numerous heritage railways in the UK. With over seventy examples preserved, they are the second most numerous class of preserved locomotive in the UK.
Several manufacturers have produced models of Class 08 shunters. In OO scale, Wrenn, Tri-ang, Hornby Railways and Bachmann Branchline all produced models. Lima also produced a model in several different liveries, but it was of the near-identical Class 09.
Since 2000, both Bachmann Branchline and Hornby have released much more detailed models, in a variety of liveries and with a variety of appropriate detail variations.
In British N Gauge, Graham Farish have also produced 2 versions; a relatively crude version lacking outside frames that was discontinued in 2007, and a more detailed version with outside frames that was unveiled 2008.
The Class 08 locomotives were the basis for the character Diesel in The Railway Series books written by the Rev. W. Awdry, and the subsequent Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends television series. The Class 08 has also provided the basis for several other characters in the series, most notably 'Arry & Bert, Splatter & Dodge (Splodge), Paxton and Sidney.