About this item
Class 56 Locomotives gives a brief history of the BR Class 56 heavy freight locomotive and a pictorial record of the type's more recent years in service. The origins of Class 56 go back to 1973 when, due to the oil crisis, there was a need for an increased number of locomotives for hauling merry-go-round coal trains between collieries and power stations. At the time there were no dedicated freight locos, most trains being hauled by Class 20s and 47s, neither of which were ideally suited. The order went to Brush of Loughborough, and, due to the urgency of build commencing, the design was based on the Class 47 bodywork fitted with the latest version of the venerable English Electric 16 cylinder V engine, by now made by Ruston Paxman. After initial problems, the class soon settled to give reliable service, totalling 135 examples by November 1984 when the last was built. Following privatisation, the entire fleet became owned by EWS, and after delivery of their new Class 66s the 56 fleet was run down and withdrawn by 2004. Several were preserved, but in recent years a number have returned to main line service with new operators and would seem to have at least a medium term future.
Number of Pages: 96
Publisher: Trafalgar Square
Author: Ross Taylor
Street Date: January 5, 2018
Item Number (DPCI): 248-42-2052
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