Class 56 Profile and Models

Class 56

56101 at Barrow Hill in August 2009. ©Clagmaster

The British Rail Class 56 is a type of diesel locomotive designed for heavy freight work. It is a Type 5 locomotive, with a Ruston-Paxman power unit developing 3,250 bhp and has a Co-Co wheel arrangement. Enthusiasts nicknamed them "Gridirons" (or "Grids" for short), due to the grid-like horn cover on the locomotive's cab ends fitted to nos. 56056 onwards. The first 30 locomotives were built by Electroputere in Romania, but these typically suffered from poor construction standards and many were withdrawn from service early for extensive rebuilding before re-entering revenue service. The remaining 105 locomotives were built by British Rail Engineering Limited (BREL). The Class 56 proved to be a strong and capable locomotive type but its maintenance requirements and costs were relatively high compared to its contemporaries and modern locomotive classes. Despite this, several can still be seen in mainline use, with a trio of locomotives also preserved.

(Information provided via Wikipedia)

Type of Locomotive



Electroputere, Romania
BREL Doncaster
BREL Crewe

Build Dates

1976 to 1984

Total Built


Tractive Effort

61,800 lbf

Power Output

3,250 bhp

Top Speed

80 mph

Wheel Configuration


Operated By

British Rail
Colas Rail
Floyd Zrt.
GB Railfreight
UK Rail Leasing

Main Duties

Heavy Freight

In Service Until


Surviving Examples



Products awaiting categorisation

Scale Brand Image Construction Type DCC Capability Product Code Product Title Livery
N Gauge CJM No image available RTR/RTUse/Pre-assembled Not set CJM-56047
Class 56 56047 in Transrail Livery Awaiting Categorisation
N Gauge Dapol NDIESEL2loco Class 56 56003 in Loadhaul black and orange - DCC fitted - split from NDIESEL2 set RTR/RTUse/Pre-assembled DCC decoder fitted. Analogue compatible NDIESEL2loco
Class 56 56003 in Loadhaul black and orange - DCC fitted - split from NDIESEL2 set