31119 (D5537)

D5537 was built by Brush Traction in Loughborough on 25th June 1959. Originally built with a Mirlees 12 cylinder power unit and known as a Class 30 under TOPS (Total Operations Processing System), however the Mirlees power units were unsuccessful and in 1964 a programme of works commenced to re-engine the fleet with English Electric 12SVT engines. D5537 was renumbered to 31119 on 31st December 1973.

31119 (D5537) was allocated to numerous depots throughout its life and worked a variety of passenger and goods trains. Originally 31119 would have been fitted with a steam heat boiler, however this was removed later in its life as passenger rolling stock was modernised and ETH (Electric Train Heat) took over from steam heat. The space where the boiler was fitted within the loco was replaced with a concrete block, this was necessary to even the loco up in terms of weight.

Eventually 31119 ended its mainline career allocated to the WNZX pool - EWS Condemned Main Line locos for Withdrawal (All Classes), the loco was withdrawn on 30th September 1995 and subsequently purchased by a private individual who moved it to an industrial premises in Newton Heath - Manchester. Alongside 31119 within the same industrial premises were 31144, 08773, and a MK1 Kitchen car. The Newton Heath Diesel Traction Group was formed and the aforementioned locos were worked on. At Newton Heath both of 31119's cabs were repaired and repainted internally to a very high standard, work was also carried out on the power unit and the related electrical and mechanical ancillaries to get the locomotive back into a running condition.

Following enquiries made by the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, 31119 was moved by road from Newton Heath to Priors Lane loading siding at the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Railway on 1st March 2006. Crew training was undertaken and 31119 was pressed into use subsidising for a shortage in steam locos at the time, since then the shortfall in steam locos has been addressed but 31119 still has a place at the railway as a standby diesel and an attraction in its own right. Since being at Embsay 31119 has worn many guises, initially it came to the railway in 'Civil Engineers Dutch Grey and Yellow' which was made to look smart as an interim measure, it was then re-painted into 'Railfreight Redstripe' which received mixed views, and most recently the loco has received a coat of the much loved and probably more in keeping 'BR Blue'.

Sadly after a practically fault free time at Embsay 31119 has had to be put into medium term storage owing to the failure of the engine liner seals. Funds, shed space, and volunteer labor are currently being organised/ sourced to fix this fault and hopefully it shouldn't be to long before 31119 is back out hauling trains again.

D. Ferguson