The Foster Yeoman Class 59's
The Class 59 locomotives were the first General Motors (GM) product to be employed in the UK and this was as a result of the Somerset-based quarrying firm of Foster Yeoman being dissatisfied with the unreliable motive power supplied by BR for their stone trains. It therefore decided to go its own way and ordered four class 59 locomotives for evaluation from Electro-Motive Division (EMD) of La Grange, Illinois, USA in November 1984 . So successful were these locomotives that further examples were ordered by FY and by their rivals Amey Roadstone Corporation (ARC) and later National Power.
The original four 3600 HP co-co locos reached these shores on 21st January 1986, followed by a fifth at a later date.
During acceptance trials on 16 February 1986, locomotive 59001 hauled a train weighing 4639 tonnes – the heaviest load ever hauled by a single non-articulated traction unit on BR metals.
Although the author was not directly involved with the testing & commissioning of these locomotives they were around at the RTC in early 1986 when undergoing acceptance testing and commissioning by my colleagues. I was involved doing other things with Sprinters.
Click on the picture for a bigger image - pictures are the author's unless otherwise credited
|Brand new EMD class 59
locomotive 59002 sits in the sidings at RTC in the company of the other
members of the class on 27th January 1986. All four locomotives came to
Derby for weighing although only one went through the type acceptance tests.
|Pictured between the EDU and the
By 31st January locomotive 59003 was coupled to Test Car 10 ready for a run to Cricklewood.
|At Brent Sidings the traction
inspector looks back to check that everything is okay before moving off.
|59003 in the snow at the RTC on
6th February 1986
The deployment of these locomotives by Foster Yeoman lead in turn to a second order from the Amey Roadstone Corporation (ARC) for four class 59/1 locos which were delivered to UK in October 1990. This was followed in 1994 by five more 59/2 locos for National Power. Much later major orders for variants of the class 59 were placed by EWS, Freightliner and DRS and these became known as the class 66 locomotives, which continue to be delivered.
Eventually ARC and Foster Yeoman amalgamated to form Mendip Rail but ARC was bought out by Hanson who applied their own livery to the locos
In mid-1997 59003 was modified and sent to Germany to operate for a new company jointly owned by Foster Yeoman and DB Cargo in order to operate high-capacity aggregate trains to various major construction sites. It was repainted at Eastleigh Works into a blue and red livery and received a number of technical modifications, including a high level headlight above the cab windows to conform with European standards. In 2001 this loco was sold to UK-based Heavy Haul Power who are now a major player in German private freight operations and operates alongside class 66 derivatives.
Before it was shipped abroad it underwent a bogie rotation test and was weighed at RTC
Click on the picture for a bigger image - pictures are courtesy Hugh Searle
However in 2014 it was repatriated and is now owned by GB Railfreight and wears their livery
However most class 59 variants carry DB Schenker red today.
|Class 59/1 No: 59104 'Village of Great Elm' in Hanson livery arrives at Westbury on 19th October 2006|
|On 8th August 2003 EWS class 66 No:66118 approaches Oxford past Oxford N Jcn with empty container flats|
|EWS class 66 No:66206 at Dollands Moor freight terminal on the night of 19th March 2005|
|EWS 66067 passes Tempsford level crossing on the ECML on 20th May 2005|
|Freightliner -owned 66579 leaves Wingfield Tunnel with an Up container train on 28th December 2005|
|Unidentified Freightliner train heads south at Broadholme on 11th May 2006|
|EWS 66207 pictured north of Toadmoor Tunnel on 11th May 2006|
|EWS 66008 heads north near Wingfield Tunnel on 3rd July 2006|
|EWS 66115 approaches Barnetby with a loaded coal train on 8th September 2006|
|59206 at Minehead station on WSR in June 2011 carrying DB Schenker red|
More will be added
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