Brighton Brush

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Brighton Brush Farwell

To commemorate the end of the reign of Class 47s on its CrossCountry services, Virgin Trains specially re-painted four of its locomotives in historic liveries in the autumn of 2001. One of these was 47 851 which was transformed into two-tone British Railways green livery and re-united with original number – D1648. The locomotive made its public debut in its late-1960s identity on the 1S76 09.20 Brighton-Edinburgh on November 23rd – only three days before the service went over to Voyager units. This ‘Wired for Sound’ cab-ride video is a record of the first 185 miles of that journey, the loco having eight Mark 2 coaches and a dead Class 47 in tow.

The first stage of the journey is along the Brighton main line. After the climb from Haywards Heath to Balcombe Tunnel there’s another uphill run between Gatwick and Merstham via Quarry Tunnel. From East Croydon the 1S76 threads its way in and out of London via a myriad of lines through Selhurst, Streatham Common, Balham and Clapham Junction before joining the West London Line at Latchmere Junction. After crossing the Thames at Battersea Bridge, the journey continues through Kensington Olympia and West London Junction to Acton Wells Junction where D1648 takes the connecting chord to the Great Western Main Line. Full power is resumed for the run along the relief line from Acton Main Line to Southall, and again from Slough to Reading. The run through the Thames Valley continues to Didcot where the 1S76 heads north through Oxford and Banbury to Leamington Spa. From here, the ‘Brush’ takes the steeply-graded single-line ‘roller coaster’ to Coventry. Now ‘under the wires’, the veteran locomotive makes a spirited run through Berkswell and Hampton-in-Arden before pausing at Birmingham International. The final leg of the journey concludes as the Class 47 plunges into the depths of Birmingham New Street station.

This is a reminder of what was an everyday sight and sound for nearly 40 years – a Class 47 powering an ‘Inter-Regional’ passenger train. With a delightful touch of 1960s nostalgia, D1648’s Sulzer engine is faithfully captured hard at work on a route packed with interest, amid the golden colours of late autumn.

'This video represents the closing of yet another chapter in railway history'. TRACTION MAGAZINE

Programme Fact File

Narration: David Maxey
First Published: 2002 
Route Featured: Brighton - Clapham -  Didcot - Leamington - Coventry - Brmingham New Street.
Class Featured: 47.
Availability: Now

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Other Locomaster Profiles Programmes featuring Class 47  motive power: 
Power Hour, Day Rover, One Four Seven, North Star South-West and the Traction Series.



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