Class 03 Diesel Mechanical Shunting Locomotive

The design of the class 03 dates from 1947 when a locomotive was built by the Drewry Car Co for evaluation by the LNER. Subsequently ordered by British Railways the early locos were built by Drewry with the later ones built by British Railway's workshops at Swindon and Doncaster. Under TOPS the Drewry-built locos were designated as class 04 and the BR-built ones as class 03 (although it would appear the first four were withdrawn before TOPS numbering was introduced). A total of 230 locomotives were built for shunting yards and for station pilot duties all over the country. Occasionally also used for branch freights, one was employed for a time on the Wenfordbridge china clay trains between Wenford dries and Boscarne Junction in Cornwall.
03 Nº03197 (as D2197) was allocated to Bournemouth and was fitted with a bell and orange warning light for working the Weymouth Quay tramway. It moved to Slade Green, in early 1974, to become the depot shunter and remained there for about 18 months before being transferred to the Eastern Region. It is seen here at Norwich, its then home depot, on 21st July 1978.

photograph by Glen Woods

Powered by a Gardner 8L3 diesel engine rated at 204 bhp with drive through a fluid flywheel, the shunter uses a mechanical transmission system with the wheels connected by coupling rods to the driving shaft thereby ensuring maximum adhesion available from the six wheels. A five-speed gearbox is fitted with a separate reversing gearbox which means all gears may be used in either direction of travel, to achieve a maximum of 28½ mph. Only one cab is provided, which stands out above the low bonnet covering the engine and equipment. The bonnet has a chimney at the front, somewhat reminiscent of a stovepipe chimney on a steam engine! These locomotives are very similar to the later class 04 diesel shunter.

The Class 03 outlived all British Rail's other small diesel mechanical shunters, lasting until 1989, and now live on principally on preserved railways and with the MoD, although one, Nº03179, was reinstated into traffic by WAGN, repainted in their livery and used for shunting EMUs at Hornsey.

D2184 photographed at Bournemouth on 24 March 1966.

photograph by Ray Soper


Technical Details

  • Introduced: 1957
  • Driving Wheel: 3 ft 7 ins
  • Length: 26 ft 0 ins
  • Weight: 30.3 tonnes
  • Min curve negotiable: 2 chains
  • Engine: Gardner 8L3
  • Engine output: 204 hp
  • Tractive Effort: 15,320 lb
  • Maximum speed: 28 frac12; mph
  • Route Availability: 1
Original BR Numbers:
D2000 - D2199
D2370 - D2399
TOPS Numbers:
03004 - 03199
03370 - 03399

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This page was last updated 12 March 2003

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