The Plym Valley Railway in Plymouth has one of these shunters, and it is indeed one of the oldest of the class in existence.It was built at the Derby yards in 1952, and given the number 13002, to later be renumbered D3002 in 1959.

As a volunteer on the said railway I have the unenviable task, (or to some people very enviable indeed) of helping out with maintenance of the engine and shunting, and so on and so forth, and so there are a few things that should be corrected about the stats given above.

The Maximum Speed given is certainly false. I have been on the footplate of the engine with a full working train, some five tonnes or so i would imagine, and we belted up the line at something like forty or so miles an hour as opposed to the given twenty.

An interesting side note on the railway is that at all times, there is no speed limit, which means we could do shunting at sixty if we wished, if it werent for the prohibitive cost of fuel. Unfortunately, the speed limit with passengers (IE, paying members of the public) is a mere twenty miles an hour.

There is a heater installed in the rear of the cab, along with a small stove mounted on the rear left wall. I have not seen it in action, but I am told it produces a truly wicked cuppa.

Today I was on top of the loco cleaning out the diesel exhausts and then washing the whole top of the engine with a bucket and sponge. There are several things I took note of.

1) It is a long way to the ground.

2) The handles along the side of the loco to aid crew when walking along the side of it provide next to no grip when an oily boot is placed up on it.

3) It is a real bugger trying to move along the top of the loco when the shed roof is only a mere sixteen inches above you. I mean, I couldn't even roll over without performing some posture worthy of a nubile romanian gymnast.

Along with the top of the loco, I had to climb inside the damn thing and scrape the crap out off the engine compartment floor, which is basically a semi-sodden mass of congealed engine oil, rust scrapings and whatever organic matter has managed to find its way in, like leaves. I managed to scrape a full litre ice cream carton of the stuff from just one side of the loco, and that was without going beneath the many pipes that lie on the bottom of the compartment.

Dont get me wrong, I quite like the engine. I'd just like to work on it without cracking my spine in two just to move around the damn thing.