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IN THE HOLE WITH

57 315 "THE MOLE"

 
     
  As further described in Rail Reports 2008 a stopover at Preston, Lancashire, on Sunday 7 September 2008 gave me the chance to photograph 57 315 "The Mole", one of sixteen members of sub-class 57/3 owned by Porterbrook Leasing and based at Alsthom's Manchester Longsight depot. More usually however, these locomotives - rebuilt from 1964-65 vintage Class 47s - are to be found at strategic points - such as Preston - along the West Coast Main Line for the emergency assistance of Virgin Trains Voyager and Pendolino units - hence the Dellner couplings recessed into their cab ends and the names taken from the ever-popular Gerry Anderson TV series "Thunderbirds".  
     
  As further described in Rail Reports 2008 a stopover at Preston, Lancashire, on Sunday 7 September 2008 gave me the chance to photograph 57 315 "The Mole", one of sixteen members of sub-class 57/3 owned by Porterbrook Leasing and based at Alsthom's Manchester Longsight depot. More usually however, these locomotives - rebuilt from 1964-65 vintage Class 47s - are to be found at strategic points - such as Preston - along the West Coast Main Line for the emergency assistance of Virgin Trains Voyager and Pendolino units - hence the Dellner couplings retracted into their cab ends and the names taken from the ever-popular Gerry Anderson TV series "Thunderbirds".  
     
  As well as their specific "Thunderbird" duties, Virgin's Class 57/3's are also tasked with dragging Pendolino units to Holyhead along the North Wales coast from Crewe. Taking such long, heavy and power-hungry EMUs away from their normal environment under the 25 000 volt ac overhead catenary is a demanding job for any Type 4 locomotive but among the other Class 57 sub classes - unique themselves in being derivatives of a long established British design refurbished with an American engines - the 57/3s have General Motors 12645F3B prime movers yielding 2 750 bhp at 954 rpm. Coupled to either a Brush BA 1101F main alternator ( recovered from a withdrawn Brush Class 56 Co-Co ) or the later BA 1101G model, these can supply all six Brush TM64-68 Mark 1 ( or Mark 1a ) traction motors as well as providing an Electric Train Supply index of 100.  
     
  As well as their specific "Thunderbird" duties, Virgin's Class 57/3's are also tasked with dragging Pendolino units to Holyhead along the North Wales coast from Crewe. Taking such long, heavy and power-hungry EMUs away from their normal environment under the 25 000 volt ac overhead catenary is a demanding job for any Type 4 locomotive but among the other Class 57 sub classes - unique themselves in being derivatives of a long established British design refurbished with an American engines - the 57/3s have General Motors 12645F3B prime movers yielding 2 750 bhp at 954 rpm. Coupled to either a Brush BA 1101F main alternator ( recovered from a withdrawn Brush Class 56 Co-Co ) or the later BA 1101G model, these can supply all six Brush TM64-68 Mark 1 ( or Mark 1a ) traction motors as well as providing an Electric Train Supply index of 100 via the Dellner couplings, which automatically marry up electric and air brake connections as well handling buffing and drawing forces.  
     
  Although the 117 tonne weight of each Class 57/3 offers only 60 tonnes of brake force compared to the 120.6 tonne freight-only Class 57/0's 80 tonnes, the Virgin Trains liveried "Thunderbirds" - rebuilt by Brush Traction at Loughborough from 1997 to 2004 from long range Class 47/8s - have room to store 5887 litres of diesel fuel compared to 5550 litres on sub classes 57/0 and 57/6, which were derived from sub classes 47/0 and 47/3. Indeed, 57 601 - the prototype of all Class 57s fitted with electric train supply ( including the four Old Oak Common based First Great Western operated Class 57/6s ) can only store 3273 litres. Like the 57/3s, 57 601 ( formerly 47 825 ) has a 60 tonne brake force ( despite tipping the scales at only 113 tonnes ) and a similar maximum speed of 95 mph despite being fitted with the 2 500 bhp 904 rpm General Motors 12 645 E3 prime mover turning a Brush BA 1101D main alternator, as per the specification of a Class 57/0.  
     
  Although the 117 tonne weight of each Class 57/3 offers only 60 tonnes of brake force compared to the 120.6 tonne freight-only Class 57/0's 80 tonnes, the Virgin Trains liveried "Thunderbirds" - rebuilt by Brush Traction at Loughborough from 1997 to 2004 mainly from long range Class 47/8s - have room to store 5887 litres of diesel fuel compared to 5550 litres on sub classes 57/0 and 57/6, which were derived from sub classes 47/0 and 47/3. Indeed, 57 601 - the prototype of all Class 57s fitted with electric train supply ( including the four Old Oak Common based First Great Western operated Class 57/6s ) can only store 3273 litres. Like the 57/3s, 57 601 ( formerly 47 825 ) has a 60 tonne brake force ( despite tipping the scales at only 113 tonnes ) and a similar maximum speed of 95 mph despite being fitted with the 2 500 bhp 904 rpm General Motors 12 645 E3 prime mover turning a Brush BA 1101D main alternator, as per the specification of a Class 57/0.  
     
  While the first three photographs in this feature showed the Number 1 end of 57 315, the Number 2 end worksplate - bearing the legend "Re-engineered by Brush Traction 2004" was most easily viewed from the B side nearest the platform at the northern end of Preston station.  
     
  While the first three photographs in this feature showed the Number 1 end of 57 315, the Number 2 end worksplate - bearing the legend "Re-engineered by Brush Traction 2004" was most easily viewed from the B side nearest the platform at the northern end of Preston station.  
     
  For those of you unlucky enough not to grow up in the 1960s or never to have seen Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's "Thunderbirds" - filmed in Supermarionation - on TV or DVD since, this is why the Class 57/3s were named after characters, places and hardware from the frankly brilliant ATV series.  
     
  For those of you unlucky enough not to grow up in the 1960s or never to have seen Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's "Thunderbirds" - filmed in Supermarionation - on TV or DVD since, this is why the Class 57/3s were named after characters, places and hardware from the frankly brilliant ATV series.

In the year 2063, so the premise went, "Thunderbirds" were a five strong fleet of rescue vehicles, collectively known as International Rescue, based on a remote Pacific island and manned by the sons of wealthy philanthropist and former astronaut Jeff Tracy. Incidentally, all the Tracy sons were named after America's Mercury astronauts.

The series chronicling the adventures of the Thunderbirds was original conceived as a half-hour format, but ATV producer Lew Grade had so much enthusiasm for the pilot episode
he decided the filmmakers should extend the running time to a full hour. "Thunderbirds" success spawned two spin-off feature films,
Thunderbirds are Go (1966) and Thunderbird 6 (1968), and a later animated series from Japan called "Thunderbirds 2086" utilized the franchise name, if not the content. Sadly though the 2004 live action film diverged too much from the strengths of the original series and was not a success.

 
     
  In the year 2063, so the premise went, "Thunderbirds" were a five strong fleet of rescue vehicles, collectively known as International Rescue, based on a remote Pacific island and manned by the sons of wealthy philanthropist and former astronaut Jeff Tracy. Incidentally, all the Tracy sons were named after America's Mercury astronauts.  
     
 

NUMBER

PREVIOUS NUMBER

NAME

 
         
 

57 301

47 845

SCOTT TRACY

 
         
  Scott Tracy, the eldest son, was the pilot of Thunderbird 1, the variable-geometry fastest flying machine on Earth, always first on the scene of any disaster for risk assesment and to control the work of the other Thunderbirds. Capable of 7 000 mph ( compared, say to Concorde's 1450 mph ! ) Thunderbird 1 was launched vertically from beneath the swimming pool on Tracy Island  
         
 

57 302

47 827

VIRGIL TRACY

 
         
  Virgil Tracy meanwhile piloted Thunderbird 2, a huge green transporter with swept-forward wings and interchangeable cargo pods for different missions. Of a similar shape to some moder ekranoplans ( or ground effect machines ) Thunderbird 2 emerged from its hangar hidden by a rock face as palm trees flattened out of its way on either side and a road became a Sea-Harrier style launch ramp.  
         
 

57 303

47 705

ALAN TRACY

 
         
  Impetuous lady-killing Alan Tracy piloted red-painted nuclear powered Thunderbird 3 on space rescues and missions to Thunderbird 5, International Rescue's communications satellite.  
         
 

57 304

47 807

GORDON TRACY

 
         
  Gordon Tracy - the brother with a sense of humour - co-piloted Thunderbird 2 and single handedly helmed yellow submarine Thunderbird 4 - usually transported to the rescue scene in Thunderbird 2's Pod 4.  
         
 

57 305

47 822

JOHN TRACY

 
         
  Usual inhabitant of Thunderbird 5, always listening for distress calls.  
         
 

57 306

47 814

JEFF TRACY

 
         
  The patriarch of Tracy Island, fed and generally looked after - in the absence of his wife - by his mother, known to everyone as Grandma. Oddly, Grandma is the one Thunderbirds character not celebrated by a Class 57 name, but the title also cropped up in that other iconic 1960s series "Till Death Us Do Part" as the term of abuse that Alf Garnett's "Scouse Git" son in law Mike used for then Conservative leader Edward Heath, a keen amateur sailor. In return, Alf himself referred to Labour premier Wilson as "darling Harold". The son in law of Mike ( or rather actor Tony Booth ) was real life New Labour prime minister Tony Blair.  
         
 

57 307

47 225

LADY PENELOPE

 
         
  Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward, to give her full title, was the elegant, glamorous London agent of International Rescue, voiced by Gerry Anderson's then wife Sylvia.  
         
 

57 308

47 846

TIN TIN

 
         
  Sultry daughter of Jeff Tracy's retainer Kyrano, Tin Tin was also an electronics expert with a soft spot of Alan Tracy.  
         
 

57 309

47 806

BRAINS

 
         
  Brains was the shy, stammering scientific genius who designed the Thunderbirds and many other gadgets.  
         
 

57 310

47 831

KYRANO

 
         
  Jeff Tracy's loyal servant, over whom The Hood ( his evil half brother ) had a strange hypnotic power and influence.  
         
 

57 311

47 817

PARKER

 
         
  Lady Penelope's Cockney ex-convict chauffeur with the catchphrase " yus, m'lady"  
         
 

57 312

47 330

THE HOOD

 
         
  The Hood, with his mysterious hypnotic powers, was determined to steal the secrets of the Thunderbirds and destroy International Rescue.  
         
 

57 313

47 371

TRACY ISLAND

 
         
  The idyllic Pacific island home of the Tracy family and the Thunderbird's secret base.  
         
 

57 314

47 372

FIREFLY

 
         
  The Firefly was a fire extinguishing vehicle airlifted into action aboard Thunderbird 2. Vehicles similarly deployed - but overlooked in the selection of Class 57/3 names - included Domo 1, a demolition vehicle, IR3 Truck - carrying a transmitter dish and The Thunderiser - a giant blaster gun used to dislodge debris.  
         
 

57 315

47 234

THE MOLE

 
         
  The Mole was a machine on caterpillar tracks for boring, drilling and tunneling and was carried to catastrophes inside one of the pods carried by Thunderbird 2.  
         
 

57 316

47 290

FAB 1

 
         
  Lady Penelope's three axled bubble-canopied pink Rolls Royce ( demoted to a mere Ford in the 2004 film ) equipped with grappling hooks and machine guns. FAB 2 was Lady Penelope's motor yacht with no special equipment. Rather dull really!  
     
 

FIRST GREAT WESTERN CLASS 57/6

 
         
  Like the Virgin Trains operated Class 57/3, the four Class 57/6s used by First Great Western to haul their long distance sleeper and other trains are owned by Porterbrook but unlike the "Thunderbirds" have flat cab fronts surmounting ordinary hooks and screw couplings. They were converted from Class 47 locomotives by Brush in 2004 and are named after examples of the "Castle" class 4-6-0 locomotives built by the Great Western Railway from 1923 onwards. These were numbered 4079 "Pendennis Castle" ( now preserved ) 5010 "Restormel Castle", 5011 "Tintagel Castle" and 5031 "Totnes Castle". As can be seen from the illustration above, too, 57 604 is now the subject of a ready-to-run 00 gauge Heljan model.  
         
  Like the Virgin Trains operated Class 57/3, the four Class 57/6s used by First Great Western to haul their long distance sleeper and other trains are owned by Porterbrook but unlike the "Thunderbirds" have flat cab fronts surmounting ordinary hooks and screw couplings. They were converted from Class 47 locomotives by Brush in 2004 and are named after examples of the "Castle" class 4-6-0 locomotives built by the Great Western Railway from 1923 onwards. These were numbered 4079 "Pendennis Castle" ( now preserved ) 5010 "Restormel Castle", 5011 "Tintagel Castle" and 5031 "Totnes Castle". As can be seen from the illustration above, too, 57 604 is now the subject of a ready-to-run 00 gauge Heljan model.  
         
 

NUMBER

PREVIOUS NUMBER

NAME

 
         
  57 602 47 337 Restormel Castle  
         
  57 603 47 349 Tintagel Castle  
         
  57 604 47 209 Pendennis Castle  
         
  57 605 47 206 Totnes Castle  
         
         
 

COTSWOLD RAIL CLASS 57/0

 
         
  Photographed behind Platform 4 of Gloucester Station on 22 February 2006 in the company of fellow Advenza Freight marked 47 375, 57 006 was originally a Porterbrook asset when converted from 47 187 with the substitution of its original Sulzer 12LDA28C 2 580 bhp prime mover for a 2 500 bhp General Motors 12 645 E3 turning a Brush BA 1101D main alternator.  
         
  Although the "Castle" 4-6-0s of the Great Western Railway had strong associations with Gloucester due to their hauling the "Cheltenham Spa Express", an even stronger modern link between Britain's most inland port and Class 57/0 is the regular presence of 57 005 and 57 006 - the only class members now owned by local Rolling Stock Company Cotswold Rail rather than Porterbrook.

Photographed behind Platform 4 of Gloucester Station on 22 February 2008, 57 006 was originally a Freightliner asset when converted from 47 187 with the substitution of its original Sulzer 12LDA28C 2 580 bhp prime mover for a 2 500 bhp General Motors 12 645 E3 turning a Brush BA 1101D main alternator.

The 75 mph freight hauler with a Route Availability of 6 first appeared in the Platform 5 Combined Motive Power volume of 1999 although by the 2000 edition it had been acquired by Porterbrook, despite retaining its green Freightliner livery and having acquired the name "Freightliner Reliance". By early 2002, along with 57 005 "Freightliner Excellence" ( converted from 47 350 and seen below at Gloucester, newly shorn of its nameplates ), 57 006 was based at Crewe before making Gloucester its home in 2008. Like fellow Advenza Freight marked 47 375 pictured above, 57 006 is now available for spot hire as part of the freight haulage division of Cotswold Rail.

 
         
  By early 2002, along with 57 005 "Freightliner Excellence" ( converted from 47 350 and seen below at Gloucester, newly shorn of its nameplates ), 57 006 was based at Crewe before making Gloucester its home in 2008. Like fellow Advenza Freight marked 47 375 pictured above, 57 006 is now available for spot hire as part of the freight haulage division of Cotswold Rail.  
         
     
         
  PORTERBROOK CLASS 57/0 IN 2008  
         
  NUMBER PREVIOUS NUMBER NOTES  
         
 

57 001

47 356

Freightliner livery, stored at Crewe

 
         
 

57 002

47 322

Freightliner livery, stored off-lease at Barry

 
         
 

57 003

47 317

Freightliner livery, stored off-lease at Southampton Maritime depot

 
         
 

57 004

47 347

Freightliner livery, stored at Southampton Maritime depot

 
         
 

57 007

47 332

Freightliner livery, Direct Rail Services Holding Pool at Crewe Gresty Lane depot

 
         
  57 008 47 060

Freightliner livery, Direct Rail Services Holding Pool at Crewe Gresty Lane depot

 
         
 

57 009

47 079

Direct Rail Services livery, fitted with DRS multiple unit wiring, at Carlisle Kingmoor depot.

 
         
 

57 010

47 231

Freightliner livery, Direct Rail Services Holding Pool at Crewe Gresty Lane depot

 
         
 

57 011

47 329

Direct Rail Services livery, fitted with DRS multiple unit wiring, stored at Crewe Gresty Lane depot

 
         
 

57 012

47 204

Freightliner livery, Direct Rail Services Holding Pool at Crewe Gresty Lane depot