DECEMBER 9, 1983 witnessed one of the most unusual events in locomotive history, which would probably be classified under ‘whimsy’ had it not also led to the loss of life.
The loco was Immingham-based No. 47299, which collided with a DMU at Wrawby Junction, west of Barnetby, while hauling an oil train – an event foretold two years earlier by a clairvoyant, although there are those who believe it was just plain coincidence.
No. 47299 began its career uneventfully as one of the 512-strong Brush Type 4 fleet. As No. D1866 it started work out of Tinsley depot, Sheffield, before moving to Immingham in September 1969, where it would remain until June 1991 apart from a short spell at Healey Mills in 1981.
All was routine until the end of 1981, when a clairvoyant contacted British Rail to say she had a recurring vision of a fatal train crash involving a big blue engine with the number 47216 hauling oil tankers.
Depot managers were told her predictions had previously been taken seriously by the police, and so made a special application to headquarters to change the loco’s number. This was normally only done after major refurbishments, but permission was given to change it to No. 47299, the last available slot in the ‘47/0’ subclass before the Class 47/3 slow-speed control series began.
Read more in the January issue of Rail Express, on sale now.