47579 will be running in addition to our steam service on selected days in 2019:
British Rail had 512 Brush Type 4 locomotives built at both Crewe works and the Brush Works at Loughborough which were later became known as Class 47’s, which made them the most numerous class of mainline diesel locomotive on British Rail. They operated on all regions of the network, and some members of the class are still in mainline service today.
47579 "James Nightall GC” is on extended loan to us from its present base at the Mangapps Railway Museum, Burnham on Crouch, Essex.
47579 (originally D1778) was released to traffic in October 1964 and allocated to Tinsley Depot (Sheffield). In 1974 with the introduction of the TOPS numbering scheme, the locomotive became 47183 and was allocated to Immingham working a lot of the coal traffic in the area.
1981 saw the locomotive head for heavy overhaul. The overhaul saw the removal of the Spanner Mk.III steam heat boiler, and the provision of Electric Train Heating (in line with BR’s policy of converting the coaching stock at that period). Other modifications saw some of the control gear changed to Solid State cards in modules. This conversion work saw a number of the type be reclassified as a 47/4 sub class and in turn 47183 became 47579!
The locomotive was named "James Nightall GC” on 28th September 1981 to remember the brave actions of 22 year old Fireman James Nighthall, who was killed on 2nd June 1944 whilst splitting a burning ammunition train at Soham in Cambridgeshire.
His actions along with his Driver, Benjamin Gimbert, saved a far greater disaster, and as a result they were two of the very few railwaymen to be awarded the George Cross for their bravery.
The locomotive ran in service until 2004 for a time in the RES Parcels Red Livery as 47793 "St Augustine” and finally in English Welsh & Scottish livery with yet another name "Christopher Wren”.