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Class 66 Locomotive

Ian Garnham

IAN GARNHAM looks at this ubiquitous freight locomotive.

The class 66 diesel was in part, a development of the successful class 59 which came about after the American company Wisconsin Central Transportation Systems bought into several newly privatised rail freight companies in the UK in 1996.

A new company was formed and became known as English, Welsh and Scottish (EWS), the name being chosen after. This new company controlled 93% of all freight traffic and inherited over fifteen hundred locomotives in various conditions from spares upwards.

Class 66

To cut costs and to raise availability, then only about 60-65% capacity, the new company approached EMD a division of General Motors in Canada and an order for 250 units was placed with the first one being delivered as soon as June 1998.

Under the BR Tops scheme, the 'Sheds' (as they became known due to the shape of their roof) were classified as Class 66 and went on to be supplied not only to EWS but to Freightliner, GB Railfreight and DRS Direct Rail Services as well. It was also used outside of the UK, with different classifications depending on operator.

Class 66

Since the early days they have been seen in a variety of colourful liveries from a map of the London Underground network to the final Class 66 locomotive delivered, which was outshopped in lined Brunswick Green and appropriately named Evening Star at a ceremony which took place at the NRM on 10th May 2016.

Gaugemaster Collection

Gaugemaster Collection

As part of our continuing Gaugemaster Collection we are producing, in conjunction with Dapol, two Class 66 Locomotives in N Scale. These should be in stock very soon.

Class 66 Locomotive

The first one which is due to us during July is number 66 789 in retro 'Large Logo' blue livery with yellow ends. On 27th February 2018, GBRf proudly unveiled their latest class 66 newly renamed 'British Rail 1948-1997' (formerly DB Cargo 66 250). The loco marks the 70th anniversary of British Railways. As well as the spectacular repaint into BR Large Logo Blue, the locomotive also underwent an upgrade to bring it up to GBRf 66/7 standards and reliability.

GM2210101 GBRf Class 66789 'British Rail 1948-1997' Large Logo Blue

Class 66 Locomotive

The second one Is Railfreight Class 66 'The Flying Dustman' Biffa livery. On 28th March 2018, GB Railfreight 66 783 (ex-DB Cargo UK 66 058) was named 'The Flying Dustman' at York Station. This locomotive was painted in Biffa corporate colours to mark the partnership between GB Railfreight and Biffa, the well-known waste management company.

The name was chosen following a competition amongst the staff at Biffa who thought it an appropriate tongue in cheek tribute to the somewhat better-known locomotive 'The Flying Scotsman'. Being a named example in an eye-catching livery, this locomotive will be very popular amongst railway enthusiasts and modellers alike.

GM2210102 GB Railfreight Class 66783 The Flying Dustman Biffa Livery

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