Heavy Freight Locomotives (Amberley)

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In the 1970s, the carriage of freight on Britain’s railways underwent a dramatic change and developed faster than at any point in the previous 100 years. The introduction of air-braked merry-go-round coal trains and the subsequent arrival of much larger and heavier air-braked wagons with an increased carrying capacity, gave rise to the need for new more-powerful freight locomotives to haul the new trainloads.

The 3300hp Class 56 was the first such locomotive, the first 30 examples built in Romania and the remaining 105 by British Rail Engineering Limited at Doncaster and Crewe. This was followed in the 1980s by further BREL products, the Class 58 and Class 60, both incorporating advances in design and technology.

In the meantime, an alternative design was introduced from General Motors in America – The Class 59. This design proved to be very successful and gave rise to the very similar Class 66, which today provides the power for most freight services in Great Britain, with several hundred examples now in service.

Heavy Freight Locomotives is a series of colour photographs showing all these classes and some of the freight traffic they have powered. It also looks at the Class 57 locomotives rebuilt from Class 47s and at the more recent, albeit less successful, Class 70.

A brief introduction describing the development of heavy freight locomotives in Great Britain is followed by the photographs, the majority of which are presented in two-per-page format, all are accompanied by captions. 96 pages. 180 photographs.

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