The extremities of the railway network, so often out of sight and out of mind to senior management in the big city, have always tended towards autonomous operations. The network of lines around the Highland capital of Inverness fit this category and, like their English cousins in Cornwall, formalised this by the adoption of the ‘Highland Rail’ brand in the 1980s. Linking the branch lines from Kyle and the Far North to Aberdeen and South via Perth, it was always a case of local knowledge knows best.
Half a dozen Class 47s arrived at Inverness at the end of the 1970s, as significant traction changes took place over the following few years. The smaller Type 2 ‘Sulzers’ were in decline and were to be replaced by Class 37s (and later, Sprinters and Express DMUs). During the 1980s, the Class 47s (and Class 37s) received the large logo passenger livery and were personalised by the local TMD with the addition of the Highland Stag emblem. Principle duties for the Brush machines were the ‘top link’ workings via the Highland main line, including Sleepers, although they also regularly ventured to Aberdeen.
No. 47617, built as D1742 in 1964, and becoming a Class 47/4 after the fitting of ETH 20 years later, had several spells at the Highland depot (shuttling between Inverness and Eastfield). It was named University of Stirling in September 1984. The large logo livery carried was slightly non-standard in that the numbers were smaller than normal and the black window surrounds extended back over the cab doors. The loco is depicted in the condition it was during the summer of 1988 after the fitting of roof-mounted radio antenna. Other than that it is a typical passenger machine, retaining its bufferbeam fairings but with boiler water tanks removed leaving just the battery boxes visible between the bogies.
- V2112: Class 47 No. 47617 University of Stirling
- British Rail blue ‘large logo’ livery with black headcodes
- Original bufferbeam fairings intact
- Modified underframe retaining battery boxes only
- No. 1 end recessed opaque lenses, No. 2 end recessed marker lights
- Plated over Spanner (circular) boiler roof panel.