This is my blog concentrating on the UK locomotive scene. I'm particularly interested in Class 08/09 Shunters and I am an Amateur photographer of Diesel and Electric locomotives.

This is my personal blog and as such, all views are those of myself and do not necessarily represent the views of my family, friends, dog or employers.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

DRS places third order for Class 68's



http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/traction-rolling-stock/single-view/view/uk-and-italian-operators-order-vossloh-locomotives.html?cHash=be53496d2893eb5bdfad8350348e26ed&Continue=1

Direct Rail Services (DRS) have placed a third order for the successful Class 68 introduced in 2014. The companies first order was for 15 locomotives and following the introduction of these machines an additional order for ten locos was placed. This latest order is for seven locomotives and highlights how in demand the 68's are. Currently the mixed traffic design is occupied with both freight and passenger work. Chiltern Railways replaced hired in Class 67's on passenger services between London and Birmingham earlier this year. Following the change over from First to Abellio in Scotland, Class 68's have also been deployed on passenger work North of the Border working peak services on the Fife circle, again at the expense of DBS Class 67's.





On the freight front the only regular booked turns for the Class at the moment is the 6U76 Crewe Basford Hall-Mountsorrel (6U77 return). North of the Border the 4H47 Mossend to Inverness (4D47 return) and the 4A13 Grangemouth to Aberdeen (4N83 return) intermodal turns have been in the hands of Vossloh's finest for some time. Other turns have and indeed do sometimes throw up a 68 such as engineers trains and wagon movements. Earlier this year, DRS experimented with Double Class 68's on Mossend-Daventry (and return) intermodal services. Replacing Class 92's hired in, two locos were required to maintain the timings of the ridiculously powerful 'Dysons'. A shortage of locos has seen this service revert to Double Class 66's for now...



So what is likely to occupy these additional beasts? Well a lot of rumours and speculation surround the Class. Talk of TPE and Northern looking at introducing a loco hauled turn utilizing the Cat's has been doing the rounds as of late. The difficulty here being that both franchises are shortly to be renewed before the new locos are expected to arrive, so things can change. First Great Western replacing 57's on sleepers with 67's is something that has been thrown around for some time. Could the 68's comeback to haunt the 67's again? At this point it must be said that there are no *official* plans to replace 57's on 'Night Riviera' duties.



The Northern Belle also recently had 68 power.Could we see an umber and cream Warskip? Highly unlikely but you never know...

So what for the impact on rest of the fleet? Serious inroads in to the Class 37 (non ETH) fleet as well as the elimination of the Class 20 and Class 47 has to be high on the agenda. Even perhaps the Class 57 could be under threat. Unless DRS has major expansion plans its hard to see them maintaining such fleet levels. They have committed to their leased Class 66's for another 5 years so they're safe...



I had the pleasure of travelling behind Chiltern liveried 68015 between Birmingham Moor st and London Marylebone in May. I had read a lot from enthusiasts about how powerful and noisy these locos are and needless to say I was not disappointed. The acceleration on these locos is impressive but it is the sound that has made perhaps given them a cult following. They may sound different from a vintage Class 37 but they are certainly no quieter. For a modern locomotive they are incredibly popular with enthusiasts. However what is perhaps most pleasing is that this third order proves that the Class is popular with the people who truly matter, railway operators themselves...


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