Hornby R2962: BR Railfreight Co-Co Diesel 'Oystermouth' Class 56

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Manufacturer's Description

The British Rail Class 56 Type 5 Co-Co diesel locomotive was first introduced in 1976 to cope with the increased requirement for heavy freight. British Rail awarded the contract to design and build these new engines to Brush Traction in Loughborough who subcontracted the construction to Electroputere in Romania due to the lack of capacity in their own works.

The initial 30 locomotives to be delivered from Romania suffered from transit damage and construction deficiencies. With this in mind the decision was made to build the remainder of the fleet in the UK. British Rail Engineering Limited were given an order to produce a further 55. A total of 135 locomotives were built as part of this Class with the construction being divided between the Doncaster and Crewe Works.

They were designed using a modified Class 47 bodyshell fitted with a Ruston-Paxman power unit to provide the capability for heavy haul freight. The “Grids”, as they were nicknamed, replaced the Class 20 and Class 47 locomotives and commonly undertook the transportation of iron ore, coal, aggregate and steel. The Class 56 locomotives operated on the Eastern and London Midland Regions where they were used mainly to haul Merry-Go-Round trains and on the Western Region for aggregate duties.

The first livery used on the Class 56 locomotives was BR Blue, followed by the BR “Large Logo”. Since those times numerous other liveries have graced the Class 56 locomotives including “Dutch”, Trainload Coal and Metals, Loadhaul, Transrail, early “EW&S” and the revised “EWS” logo and now Colas Rail Freight.

The introduction of the Class 60 locomotives saw a gradual reduction in the use of the Class 56 locomotives and with the arrival of the Class 66 locomotives the Class 56 fleet ceased operating and were placed into storage in 2004. The majority of the locomotives remain in various depots around the UK, although some have been reinstated and used on projects in France. A few were also refurbished for “Fastline”, which ceased operating in 2010.

  • Class: 56
  • Designer: Electroputere, Romania; BREL, Doncaster & Crewe
  • Entered Service: 1976
  • Number Built: 135
  • Purpose: Heavy Long Distance Freight
  • Dimensions: 254mm
  • Motor: 5 Pole Skew Wound
  • DCC Ready: DCC Ready
  • Livery: Railfreight
  • Finish: Pristine

Special Features

  • Sprung Buffers
  • Extensive Detail
  • Loco drive
  • Twin bogie drive
  • All-wheel pickups
  • Directional lighting
  • Working head/tail lights
  • NEM Couplings


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