South Devon Railway hosts annual diesel gala this November

British Rail Class 17 'Clayton' D8568
SDR event to host fleet of British Railways 'first generation' diesels
Published Mon, 2017-09-25 11:24

The South Devon Railway is hosting its annual Diesel Gala from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th November.

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Editorial

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British Rail Class 17 'Clayton' D8568 ©

Home to an impressive fleet of British Railways 'first generation' diesels built during the 1950s and 1960s to replace steam traction, the gala weekend is a great opportunity to see and experience these now sixty-year-old engines in action, including a special visitor.

With an intensive service throughout both days, a bar on the trains and plenty of action for diesel fans – plus a visiting Class 17 engine, the diesel gala is an event that is growing in popularity and a firm date for the diary.

The guest visitor this year is Class 17 Clayton D8568, now a unique locomotive, and it will be the first time a member of this class has worked in Devon. It is due to arrive on the railway in mid October, courtesy of its owners, the Diesel Traction Group (DTG), and it will be operating on Sunday 15 October for a Driver Experience Day.    

D8568 was built by the Clayton Equipment Company in the Autumn of 1963, hence its nickname 'Clayton'. It is now the only survivor from a class totalling 117 locomotives. Weighing in at just 69 tons, it is powered by twin Paxman 6ZHXL power units giving a total of 900HP for powering the loco via Diesel Electric transmission.

Spending all its BR working life in Scotland, the Clayton was delivered new on 16th January 1964 to Haymarket depot before moving to Polmadie in September 1968. It remained there until it was withdrawn from service on 6th October 1971 after running for just seven years.  

The loco was then used as an industrial shunter for 11 years until preservation by the DTG in February 1983. The Clayton has been based at the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway since August 1991.

Other locomotives planned to run over the weekend (all subject to availability) comprise English Electric type 3 (class 37) 6975, Sulzer type 2 (class 25) D7612, BRCW Crompton (class 33) D6501, English Electric 0-6-0DE shunter (class 09) D3721, RS&H 0-6-0DM shunter (class 04) D2246 and 'Bubblecar' single unit railcar W55000. 6975 is in rail blue, the others are in original British Railways green.

For more information and ticket bookings, please visit the South Devon Railway website.

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