New exhibit arrives for Locomotive Storage 1:1 Museum in Margate

Class 60 loco number 60081 arrives in Margate Photo John Horton

By John Horton

A small crowd gathered this afternoon outside Hornby Wonderworks to witness the arrival of the latest exhibit for Locomotive Storage’s 1:1 Museum project based at Hornby’s former Goods Inwards Warehouse.

Resplendent in its ex works condition, paintwork gleaming in the late afternoon sunshine, Class 60 loco number 60081 made a fine sight as it came into view. Wearing its special GWR Lined livery, which it originally received in August 2000, the huge behemoth was being carried on a specially constructed low loader lorry, belonging to “Allelys” Road Haulers, specialists in the movement of exceptionally big and heavy loads across the UK.

Photo Jamie Horton

This is the first new exhibit to arrive at the locomotive museum in more than two years, covid 19 having put an instant stop arrivals, along with a halt to the building works of the 1:1 complex.

Many items originally housed in the complex have now been removed and moved on, such as the Pullman Observation Car from the former Devon Belle, one tender from A4 pacific loco BITTERN, itself due to move shortly to Yorkshire to undergo a full restorative overhaul and the sad departure of two coaches from the former class 503 Wirral Unit. These were in such a poor state they were destined for scrap after component recovery, ending up at Cockshute Sidings, Stoke-on-Trent for subsequent cutting up and disposal. However one-quarter of the driving trailer coach has been purchased by an individual for a complete restoration and will be exhibited in a purpose built complex in Pwllheli, Wales.

Photo John Horton

The class 60 was the very last diesel electric locomotive fleet built under BR, by Brush Engineering, Loughborough. An initial order of 100 locomotives were constructed between 1989 – 1993, designed as Co-Co Type 5 heavy haul machines. Weighing in at 129 tons, they were 70ft in length, standing 13 ft tall and 8ft 8 Ins wide.

Costing £1.5m each they were destined to replace the class 56s fleet for steel, construction, oil and coal sectors of the national network, being based at Toton, near Sheffield.

Photo John Horton

Nicknamed “Tugs” by enthusiasts, they could be seen all over the network and many could be seen on test, hauling the Hothfield Stone trains around the Ashford area in the later part of 1991. The class 60 were the largest expenditure since class 56.

EWS took over the freight sector of BR under privatisation and the MD was not impressed with the reliability record of the class 60. However, EWS had plans for the new Class 66 locomotives and class 60 was run down. By 2004 up to 75% of the fleet was out of use.

Photo John Horton

Every member of the class was named, be it after a mountain range in the peak district or famous people, 60081 was named “Bleaklow Hill” and in 2000 it was chosen to receive a unique livery for Old Oak open day in August of the same year. It was unveiled to the public carrying GWR lined green, a colour scheme never carried by a class 60 before, and was renamed “Isambard Kingdom Brunel” the name formerly carried by long withdrawn class 47 locomotive 47484, originally numbered D1662.

In 2005 the loco suffered a serious engine failure whilst working an engineer’s train. The power unit was written off following one of the pistons having torn through the crank case, causing a fire.

Photo John Horton

The loco was sent back to Toton, its home depot, for a detailed damage assessment but was deemed too costly to repair. It was withdrawn from service and robbed for spare parts for other class 60s. Advertised for sale as scrap in 2021 it was purchased in December the same year by Locomotive Storage and cosmetically restored to its current condition.

2 Comments

  1. Are these exhibits for public viewing at Hornby or is this just temporary private storage before going on another journey elsewhere?

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