GB RAILFREIGHT is aiming to run the first Class 69-hauled train in early May.
The company’s Engineering Strategy Director Bob Tiller told a Young Rail Professionals webinar on 30 March that the locomotives would be initially based at Tonbridge and used on a variety of services as part of a bedding in process for the type and train crew training. GBRf has ordered 10 ‘69s’, which are being rebuilt by Electro-Motive Diesel from Class 56 donor locomotives, with an option within the contract for a further six locomotives which must be taken up by the end of July.
No 69001 was the first locomotive to be released from EMD’s Longport facility following the rebuild, and after a successful period of testing at the Severn Valley Railway returned to Longport in March for rectification work and further tests. After this work was signed off, it was due to move to Arlington Fleet Services at Eastleigh during April for repainting in a special livery which Mr Tiller says recognises the joint Anglo-American effort within the project. It was expected to take a further four to six weeks to complete the required paperwork, and Mr Tiller said it was hoped the first ‘69’-hauled train would run in early May.