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Diesel locomotive to spring into action for first time in 20 years at SVR spring festival

A diesel locomotive that hasn't been run in public for more than 20 years is to take to the track again as part of Severn Valley Railway’s spring festival.

Class 58 58023 "Absolute Cracker"
Class 58 58023 "Absolute Cracker"

‘Absolute Cracker’ has been announced as a guest for the SVR's Spring Diesel Festival.

The Class 58 No 58023 diesel locomotive will make its first-ever appearance in preservation at festival, which runs between May 18-21.

The visitor is bound to cause a stir as no Class 58 has been seen in operation in Britain since the withdrawal of the entire class in 2002.

A total of 50 Class 58s were constructed by BR between 1982 and 1986, for use on power station coal traffic. They were all withdrawn from service two decades ago.

The locomotive's unusual narrow body shape, with a cab at each end, has led to them being nicknamed ‘bones’ by rail enthusiasts.

“We’re pulling out all the stops for this event,” said Jonathan ‘Gus’ Dunster, the SVR’s interim managing director.

“It’s hard to believe, but the heritage sector has now achieved 50 years of diesels in preservation, and we think that’s something to celebrate.

"Securing 58023 is a real coup – this loco is going to be an absolute cracker at our event and we’re extremely grateful to its owner Ed Stevenson for agreeing to its first appearance in preservation for the SVR’s special celebrations.”

Alongside the visiting Class 58 will be the SVR-based Class 42 D821 ‘Greyhound’, which secured its place in history as the first diesel locomotive to appear in preservation 50 years ago.

“The SVR’s Spring Diesel Festival will bring together the widest range of operational diesel locomotives ever assembled on a heritage railway," said Gus.

"It’s going to be on a scale that’s never been seen before. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate 50 years of diesels in preservation!”

Tickets for the four-day, intensively-timetabled Spring Diesel Festival are available now at, including money-saving multi-day tickets.

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