DCC Type DCC Ready
Designer Electro-Motive Diesel, Canada
Entered Service 1999
Motor 5 Pole Skew Wound
Wheel Configuration Co-Co
When British Rail privatised its freight operations in 1996 the Wisconsin Central Transportation Systems purchased several of the newly privatised rail freight companies which included Loadhaul, Rail Express Systems, Mainline, Transrail, and Railfreight Distribution all of which accounted for over 90% of the UKs rail freight services. The companies were eventually grouped into one single company under the name of English, Welsh & Scottish Railways.This new company (EWS) inherited a fleet of locomotives many of which were in in excess of 30 years old and there was therefore a need for a large quantity of new and efficient locomotives.
Having evaluated the Class 59, which was a privately commissioned Class, EWS placed an order with Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD), which was a division of General Motors for 250 locomotives to be originally designated Class 61 but were later reclassified under the UK TOPS system as Class 66. The new fleet was built at the EMD plant facility at London, Ontario, Canada and the first Class 66 landed at Immingham in June 1998 and after a period of testing there came a steady flow this time through the Newport Docks, arriving in the UK at 11 per month.
Eventually the order was completed in December 2001. The Class 66 locomotives proved and continue to prove to be reliable. Powered by an EMD 12 cylinder diesel engine generating over 4000 horsepower, the Class 66 produced impressive results and was soon in operation across the UK rail network. As the demand increased in the UK for rail freight but decreased in Continental Europe linked with the lack of spares available for the Class due to the closure of the Ontario plant a number of European Class 66 variants have been imported into the UK by various train operators and converted to UK specifications. One of these companies includes GBRf who in September 2013 placed an order with EMD for a total of 8 new locomotives designated Class 66/7, which were built at the EMD plant in Muncie, Indiana, USA.
In February 2014 GBRf ordered a further 13 of the Class, with the total of these 21 locomotives being numbered 66752 66772. It is expected that due to the ever increasing controls on emissions brought about by EU legislations that these will be the last new Class 66 locomotives to be built. In total from the original order of 250 the Class now consists of in excess of 450! Freightliner locomotive 66 504 is part of the sub class 66/5 and was built, as were many of the others in the Class at the EMD, London, Ontario, Canada facility and was outshopped in August 1999. At the time of writing Locomotive 66 504 is based at Leeds Midland Road and is part of the Freightliner Intermodal Traffic fleet.
Suitable rolling stock: General freight stock of the period.
Colour and contents of products may vary from those illustrated