THE Mid Hants Railway’s Watercress Line will play host this weekend to a wide array of historic diesel engines, as part of its annual Diesel Gala, among them BR Class 20 Bo-Bo diesel-electric locomotive, D8059, and freight work locomotive, D8001.

D8059 was formerly known as an English Electric Type 1.

Weighing 73 tonnes and delivering 1,000 horsepower, it was designed to work light mixed freight traffic at up to 75 mph. It has the well-used nickname of ‘Chopper’, due to the distinctive engine beat under load which resembles the sound of a helicopter. The locomotive is now known as 20059, having been renumbered in 1973 under TOPS and is owned by the Somerset and Dorset Locomotive Company and currently based on the Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway.

D8001 was built by English Electric in 1957 at the Vulcan Foundry in Newton le Willows and was one of a prototype batch of Class 20 locomotives which owed its origins to the 1955 modernisation plan, in which manufacturers were asked to produce trial builds for evaluation. The design was based on one which EE had designed for export and consequently proved extremely successful at home.

The diesel gala runs from June 1-3.

For more details, visit