Resplendent repaint for GWR’s resident Drewry 204hp 0-6-0DM shunter

Alex Farran
June 12, 2024

• Drewry 0-6-0DM Shunter / British Rail Class 04 No. D2280 receives full repaint • Shunter repaint a collective effort by diesel locomotive department members • D2280 restored to 1960s Era BR Green with BR Late Crest and Wasp Stripes

One of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway’s resident diesel-mechanical shunting locomotives has received a full repaint into 1960’s era BR Green, complete with BR Late Crest and Wasp Stripes. The locomotive in question is Drewry 0-6-0DM Shunter / British Rail Class 04 No. D2280, which is based at the railway’s locomotive sheds at Toddington, alongside sister Class 04 No. 11230. The newly repainted Drewry shunter is a frequent performer at the railway, seeing regular use on shunting duties by both the diesel and steam locomotive departments. The extensive repaint was carried out as a group project by several members of the diesel department. The work was completed shortly before the ‘Cotswold Festival of Steam’ in May.

142 locomotives were developed by the Drewry Car Co. Ltd. for British Railways (BR), with construction being carried out in several batches between 1947 and 1962 by Vulcan Foundry at its factory in Newton-le-Willows, and later, Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns (RSH) in North East England. Numbered between D2200 and D2341 under the Pre-TOPS series (with the prototype being allocated the last number in the sequence), the Drewry shunters were fitted with 204 hp (152 kW) Gardner 8-cylinder, 4 stroke diesel engines (8L3), with a Wilson-Drewry CA5 R7, 5-speed epicyclic gearbox and jackshaft drive.

The Class 04’s as they became known under TOPS were primarily used for shunting operations in yards and docks, as well as light freight services on branch lines. Members of the class could be found working across the British Railway network, including with the National Coal Board (NCB) and the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB).

Withdrawals of the class began in 1967, with all BR examples being taken out of service by 1972. Some class members found new leases of life in private industry, and over 20 of the class were preserved by heritage railways and private collectors. Many of those saved are now either operational or under restoration, although one was scrapped back in 2003.

Time for a bit of history on one of the GWR’s shunting stalwarts - Drewry 0-6-0DM Shunter / British Rail Class 04 No. D2280.

D2280 was supplied new by the Drewry Car Co. Ltd, as part of the later batch built by Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns (RSH), on the 25th February 1960 and was initially allocated to Norwood Junction (75C) on the Southern Region (SR). During the 1960s, the ‘04’ would spend time allocated to Brighton (75A), Weymouth Radipole (GWR) (70G), Parkeston Quay (30F), Colchester (30E) and Stratford (30A). The shunter was reallocated back to Colchester (30E) during October 1968 and remained there until it was officially withdrawn from BR service on the 14th March 1971, ending a British Rail career which lasted a little over 11 years.

Following withdrawal from British Rail, D2280 was sold to the Ford Motor Company for industrial use in 1971. It was moved under its own power from storage at Colchester Depot to Dagenham Ford Works on 28th June 1971. Whilst at Ford, the shunter was renumbered to No 2 and remained in active service with the car manufacturer for several years until being withdrawn in 1996. After being stored at the North Norfolk Railway (NNR) for several years, it was sold and subsequently arrived at the GWR in 2018, where it was restored to operational condition at Toddington.

D2280 will be on static display on-shed at Toddington during the summer diesel gala.

Tickets for the summer diesel gala are available online at www.gwsr.com. With up to eight diesel locomotives and a diesel multiple unit (DMU) running*, it will offer an action-packed timetable of trains. The locomotive and carriage & wagon workshops will throw open their doors for rare behind-the-scenes visits and there will be plenty of other activity at the railway’s picturesque period stations.