In late 1973 conversion commenced at Doncaster Depot of withdrawn Class 08 locomotives D3006, D3035 and D3078 to snowploughs. Work was completed in early 1974 when they were renumbered ADB966507/08/06 respectively. These conversions were followed by a further two, D3037 and D3069 becoming ADB966510/09 respectively later in the year. This fleet was added too in 1977 with the conversion of 08111, 08117 and 08119 to ADB966512/13/11 respectively, later becoming ADB968012/10/11 respectively.
Following conversion the usual locations to find them berthed were Doncaster, Frodingham, Grantham, Lincoln, March, Thornaby, Tinsley and Wath-upon-Dearne.
Folk-lore has it that when first used in anger they proved somewhat of a disaster. This though is more than just folk-lore. Robert Willis who was tool van supervisor at Thornaby during the time ADB966509 was based their confirms this was the case. Robert says that “ADB966509 was only used once in anger on the single line branch from Middlesbrough to Battersby and derailed on the way back on plain track. It wasnt an easy thing to re-rail and the conclusion I came to in my report as to the cause was the badly thought out conversion. The traction motors had been removed thus raising the centre of gravity and the cranks and side rods had been removed but the balance weights were still part of the wheels thus the loco was unbalanced at speed, it would have bounced around and the higher centre of gravity led to the wheels lifting off the track”. Robert took the above picture during recovery operations and is sure it was in early 1978 when North East England suffered a heavy snowfall.
It would be interesting to know if any of the others actually saw use or whether following the mishap with ADB966509 the decision was taken not to pursue the project. Thus, any other sightings/photographs of them in use would be of particular interest. Whatever, all were out of use by the Spring of 1979 and with the exception of ADB966509 were scrapped at Doncaster Works during 1979 and 1980.
Although the locations where they were berthed are reasonably well documented there are one or two grey areas in the histories of some of the snowploughs whilst precise date of movement between locations in many cases is not always known. In order to build up a clearer picture, sightings of the Snowplough Class 08s from time of conversion to eventual scrapping are sought. Clicking on a particular Snowplough Class 08 will take you to its potted history and sightings of it so far submitted. Please forward any sightings you may have to Peter Hall giving details of number, date and location. Particular care should be taken when submitting sightings at Doncaster to specify whether the sighting was made at the Depot, Works or elsewhere. Also, any sightings at Lincoln should specify whether the sighting was made at the Diesel Depot or at East Holmes (the former Steam Depot used for stabling diesel locomotives at the time).