UK Traction Review - June 2019
UK Traction Review
Three generations of diesel traction enjoy a break in the weather at the ‘Crewe - All Change’ event on 8th June 2019 as recently repainted 50049 Defiance stands alongside DRS’ ever popular 57307 Lady Penelope and newly named 68027 Splendid in the striking TransPennine Express livery.
The Crewe open day on Saturday 8th June 2019 provided a great opportunity to cast an eye across the different organisations operating on the UK network. Simon Bendall gives an update on recent activity and news with a particular focus on the exhibits at the event.
1) Colas Rail
2) DB Cargo
3) Deltic Preservation Society
4) Direct Rail Services
5) East Coast
7) GB Railfreight
8) Locomotive Services
9) Network Rail
10) Rail Operations Group
11) Other Operators
Please note: Some of the products linked below may be for locomotives of a different sub-class, livery or in a different condition if the exact type of locomotive has not been produced.
With the Class 60 fleet sold to GB Railfreight last year, Colas continues to rely on the Class 70s for the bulk of its cement, timber, infrastructure and petroleum workings with support from the Class 56s. The most notable development for the company though is the imminent return of loco-hauled passenger workings to the Welsh Valleys with Colas contracted to provide Class 37s for the peak hour services between Cardiff and Rhymney. The first diagram is currently pencilled in to commence on Monday 17th June with at least 37418 and 37421 due to be involved.
The first half of 2019 has seen DB Cargo make several traffic gains, particularly in the intermodal market with new contracts inked with both Maritime Transport and PD Ports, both of which were marked by the appearance of Class 66s in blue customer liveries. Similarly, the aggregates market remains buoyant with the conversion of 110 HTA coal hoppers into shortened HRA hoppers all but completed.
67006 "Royal Sovereign"
Sporting the latest incarnation of the royal claret livery, the ‘Skip’ was DB’s sole representative at the Crewe event.
Based at Barrow Hill, the DPS continues to do sterling work in maintaining its three production ‘Deltics’ with 55019 still touring various preserved lines. The mammoth overhaul of 55015 continues to make steady progress at the group’s dedicated depot while 55009 remains out of traffic awaiting repairs after its highly unusual overload event at Dunbar in March 2019.
55019 "Royal Highland Fusilier"
Following the failure of 55009 earlier this year and the NRM’s grounding of 55002, 55019 is currently the sole operational main line ‘Deltic’.
DRS continues to focus on three particular freight segments, including its long standing nuclear flask work, which is now solidly in the hands of Class 68s with some support from Class 88s along with Class 66s on the Far North traffic to Georgemas Junction. Intermodal traffic, particularly from Daventry, continues to gainfully employ Class 66s and the odd Class 88 while DRS has recently retained a slice of the latest contracts from Network Rail. As well as providing traction for selected engineers and test train workings, it has kept a share of the Railhead Treatment Train operation as well as the contract to power the snowplough fleet, all of which continues to provide gainful employment for Class 37s and Class 57s. DRS also continues to provide motive power to support passenger services, including the Class 37s in East Anglia, although this duty is due to end in the summer of 2019.
With the first Class 800 ‘Azumas’ having entered passenger service on the East Coast Main Line during May and further diagrams being progressively turned over to the Hitachi units, the Class 91s are nearing the end of their 30 year career out of King’s Cross. The first Mk.4 sets have already gone off lease and into store at the unlikely location of Workshop Yard while the first trio of Class 91s, 91108/20/32, are due to go off lease at the end of July.
91119 "Bounds Green"
Coming ‘home’ for the Crewe event, the much photographed loco is expected to be one of the last Class 91s to go off lease in mid 2020.
Under the ownership of Genesee & Wyoming, Freightliner continues to undergo something of a renaissance. In addition to taking a share of the recently awarded Network Rail infrastructure contracts, November should see it commence the lucrative Mendip Rail aggregates operation. With the Class 59/0s and Class 59/1s already transferred to Freightliner’s books, a motive power shuffle is expected to release some of the heavy-hauling Class 66/6s to the Somerset-based operation. This will partly be achieved by Freightliner taking Class 90s 90003-15 on lease from Porterbrook when they are released by Greater Anglia.
GBRf was the big winner of Network Rail’s infrastructure contracts covering the next five years, including taking over the operation of Eastleigh Yard and part of Bescot Yard. The company continues to expand its motive power roster with the Class 47s and Class 60s acquired from Colas Rail last year now joined by hired in Class 08s and two ‘Hoovers’ from the Class 50 Alliance. Further Class 60s have been acquired from DB Cargo for potential refurbishment while the Class 69 project to re-engineer Class 56s is now making tangible progress at Stoke. Most recently, three more Euro-spec Class 66s have been purchased with 66790 having just arrived in the UK to undergo the necessary modifications.
Under the ownership of Jeremy Hosking, Locomotive Services has undergone rapid expansion over the past couple of years, including launching its Saphos Trains charter operation. Based at the modernised and expanded former Crewe Diesel TMD, the company owns 13 steam locomotives, including Britannia, Royal Scot, Bittern, King Edward I and Blue Peter. To support its charter trains, which includes the high quality Statesman set, the company has also invested heavily in diesel traction, particularly acquiring Class 47s from DRS for overhaul. Also on its books are two ‘Deltics’ while Class 40 D213 is additionally on loan to the company.
For the Crewe event, Network Rail provided its two rebuilt Class 73/9s along with an infrastructure monitoring train. Re-engineered by RVEL, 73951 and 73952 were completed in 2014/15 but continue to be something of an enigma, only rarely seeing meaningful main line use on test trains. For much of 2019, the duo have been based at Ashford for light engine testing on the third rail network around Kent. For a more detailed history of the project, click HERE
Still a relative newcomer to the railways, the portfolio of work undertaken by Rail Operations Group continues to expand as the next generation of rolling stock is introduced and HSTs and units go off lease. The company’s fleet of Class 47s is now increasingly supplemented by Class 37s hired from Europhoenix and, latterly, a trio of Class 57/3s from DRS.
Covering for the intended but unavailable Class 47, 37608 shows off the coupling and other modifications undertaken to allow it to haul and brake multiple units.
Several other train operators and companies provided exhibits for the ‘All Change’ event, further demonstrating the industry co-operation that is often seen for such high-profile charity open days.
All text in this article was created by Simon Bendall on behalf of Hattons Model Railways. All images are copyright of the author or Hattons Model Railways unless otherwise stated. Unauthorised use or reproduction of either the images or text in this article is strictly forbidden.
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