This blog is focussed around my interests in Diesel and Electric locomotives and the modern rail freight scene. I particularly like the humble Class 08 and 09 Shunter and also anything with a pantograph, notably Class 86, 90 and 92 locomotives.

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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, or employers.

Friday, 27 November 2020

Freightliner 86's - Down to single figures but still powering on

When I hear the word 'Freightliner', I instantaneously think of two things - Container Cranes and the British Rail Class 86. The AC electric loco has been a workhorse for well over 50 years now, and with the formation proper of Freightliner as a standalone entity in the mid 1990's, have been an ever present in their fleet. Now with the cascading of redundant Class 90's from the Greater Anglia passenger services, Freightliner now have 23 operational Class 90's at their disposal. 

The Freightliner Class 86 fleet had remained static at 16 for many years. Earlier this year, as members of the class became due for expensive repairs (mainly new wheelsets/bogie overhauls) the 1st examples  were started to be stood down from traffic. The good news to come out of this, was that the plan was to 'warm store' the locos for an eventual overhaul and return to service for at least some of the fleet. 
86610 was the 1st to be stood down in January 2020, followed soon after by 86614. Against the odds, 86614 returned to traffic before succumbing to storage for a second time in October 2020. 86627, 86605 and 86612 all followed in May and June, 86628 in July (described as terminal). The most recent 'Can' to be stood down was 'Powerhaul' liveried 86622 during November. The remaining 9 locos now are concentrated on flows between Ipswich and Garston or Trafford Park, with Scottish runs now a thing of the past. It is believed that retention and overhaul is still on the cards for some of the class after a period of retirement, but we believe this to be dependant on several factors. 1 being the current COVID Global Pandemic and the economic impact that is having. The intermodal sector seems to be picking up again and performing strongly which could be a good sign. 
2. Freightliner are believed to be hoping to secure a couple of contracts that would increase the requirement of it's fleet and the need for the 86's.   

These truly are a wonderful locomotive that have stood the test of time, and owe their owners nothing. Their owners however, probably will be in debt to them forever...

Current Fleet Status as below as of 20:00 on 27/11/2020

A relatively calm scene at Garston FLT as ‘Arrol 1’ goes about it’s business. 86613 and 86604 are seen resting prior to this evenings 4L60 departure to Felixstowe North FLT and had not long arrived in on the 4M45 run in the opposite direction. 66598 is seen lingering behind and was to depart shortly afterwards, running light engine to Ditton FLT were it will assist with the 4L92 departure. 27/11/2020.

One of my favourite shots to take (and I've a few so no apologies on that front!) is this approach shot at Halewood as the train is about to pass under the A561 "Ford Road". Throw in a couple of 86's, some decent light and I'm a happy chappy. 

Still defying the odds is 86604, which reportedly is now on very thin wheels that apparently cannot be turned again. Glad to get 86604 on the front here in this instance as it leads 86613 near journeys end on the long trip from Ipswich Yard to Garston FLT.  26/11/2020.

86604 and 86613 get a rare go on the fast lines in to Garston on 27/11/2020 as they head in with the 4M45 from Felixstowe North FLT which the AC Electric pair had worked up from Ipswich. Seen here passing the Jaguar Land rover head shunt on 27/11/2020. 

86638 86639 4L60 Hartford 19/11/2020.

Swimming through Harford on the wet evening of 09/10/20 is the veteran pairing of Freightliner's 86613 and 86608. The pair finishing off the week of 4L60 19:46 Garston FLT to Felixstowe service which they of course will only work to as far as Ipswich. Quite like the rain in this one, adds an element of drama!

Another week of operations done at Garston FLT and, rather unusually, the electrics haul the diesels back to base (a welcome change for me at least!)
After working up over night from Ipswich with the 4M45 intermodal service from Felixstowe, 'Powerhaul' liveried 86637 leads 'Racing Green' liveried 86607 and dead 66550 + 66517 over Halewood East Jn on the 4K83 12:23 departure from Garston. At this point it was running some 20 mins early. 10/10/20.

86638 leads 86622 with 4Z14 0618 Garston to Crewe BH passed Acton Bridge at 0727 (32 late) on 03/10/20.

86622 86607 4L60 Halewood East Jn 27/08/20

86632 86607 4L60 Halton Jn, 18/08/20


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