Deltic 9000 Fund
With the entry into service of the new High Speed Train in the late 1970s, the old Class 55 diesel locomotives began to be withdrawn. In order to ensure that the first production unit, D9000/55022 (Royal Scots Grey), was preserved, the Deltic 9000 Fund was established with the intention of purchasing the locomotive once it was withdrawn. The successful purchase was completed in 1983, and Royal Scots Grey was handed over to the fund at Doncaster, from where she was taken to the Nene Valley Railway for preservation. At the same time, D9016/55016 (Gordon Highlander) was also purchased by the fund. Gordon Highlander was intended to be used as a source of spares for Royal Scots Grey, but, with sentiment taking over, she too was restored to working order.
Deltic 9000 Locomotives Ltd
The privatisation of British Rail allowed private train operators to run services on the mainline. With this in mind, the Deltic 9000 Fund renamed itself Deltic 9000 Locomotives Ltd (DNLL) with a view to operate its locomotives pulling special charter trains and railtours. Royal Scots Grey was sent for a complete overhaul to allow the locomotive to be operated on the mainline, and in November 1996 was returned to service pulling her first railtour. DNLL, through the sponsorship of Porterbrook Leasing, was able to overhaul Gordon Highlander for service on the mainline between 1998 and 1999. At this time, the locomotive was transferred to the ownership of Porterbrook, returning to DNLL ownership in 2002. In 1998, DNLL also entered into a ten year agreement with the National Railway Museum to undertake the operation of their Class 55, D9002/55002 (King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry), on charter trains. However, in June 2004, DNLL went into voluntary liquidation. At that time, both Royal Scots Grey and Gordon Highlander were offered for sale, with both entering private ownership.