Class 47306

Brush/Sulzer Class 47 306 'The Sapper' (D1787)

Owner-Privately Owned



D1787  entered Traffic on the 26th November 1964, one of 512 locomotives built at the Brush Locomotive Works, Loughborough and BR Workshops, Crewe.

One of a batch later designated 47/3 that were not fitted with any train heating equipment and hauled freight, apart from the occasional summer Saturday extra passenger work on an infrequent basis.

Delivered in Two Tone Green with small yellow warning panel which later changed to full yellow ends. All over BR Blue was applied before renumbering in April 1974 to 47 306, also briefly named 'Goshawk', in a 1994 naming ceremony 47 306 was named ’The Sapper’, the name it holds to the current day.

In 2000, 47 306 became a celebrity Railfreight Distribution Loco when it was selected for display at Old Oak Common open day and was overhauled including repainting. It then visited various preserved railway open days,

including Bodmin in 2002 for the September Diesel Gala before becoming stored at St.Blazey for 5 years, post the St Blazey staff open day.

47 306 part of the so called EWS Heritage Fleet, was sold by EWS towards the end of 2006 to the Harry Needle Railway Company, based at Barrow Hill.

47 306 ‘The Sapper’ arrived at the railway for assessment in March 2007. After many man hours, it was successfully started and run. A swap deal for 20166 (runner) and 20197 (spares) was then concluded between Harry Needle and Peter Fitzgerald (owner of the 20’s). Shortly afterwards  a  Local Class 47 enthusiast  took overhaul control of 47 306, with the Bodmin Volunteers  continuing to look after its welfare.

47 306 has been in service for 8 years of traffic with B&WR and the numerous intermittent; ‘faults’ that have slowly been sorted. In April 2009 a wiring loom fire melted a large quantity of wiring and this required approximately 300 meters of cabling to be replaced.

Over the Winter (2012/2013) major floor and roof repairs  were carried out to the ‘Boiler room’ area of the locomotive. This has mainly been contracted out to Peter Phillips Engineering with assistance from the volunteers and staff as required.

The long overdue visit to the Workshops has commenced in December 2015 and the process of preservation overhaul has commenced. Check out our Facebook group - Bodmin heritage diesels and here on our updates page - for regular updates.


Power type



Brush TractionBritish Rail Crewe Works

Build date


Total produced




UIC classification


Wheel diameter

3 ft 9 in (1.143 m)


51 ft 6 in (15.70 m)


63 ft 7 in (19.38 m)


8 ft 10 in (2.69 m)


12 ft 9 1⁄2 in (3.90 m)

Locomotive weight

112 to 125 long tons

Fuel capacity

850-1750 imp gal 

Prime mover

Sulzer 12LDA28-C

Top speed

75 mph (121 km/h)

Power output

Engine: originally 2,750 bhp (2,050 kW), later derated to 2,580 bhp (1,920 kW)

Tractive effort

Maximum: 55,000 lbf (245 kN) to 60,000 lbf (267 kN))

Train heating

47/0: Steam generator

47/3: None

47/4: Electric Train Heat

Locomotive brake force

61 long tons-force (608 kN)

Train brakes

Duel (Air and Vacuum)