“Significant moment” for the continued growth of GB Railfreight, as last ever Class 66 locos to be built arrive in the UK

13/02/2016 - 10:00

Today, GB Railfreight (GBRf) welcomed the arrival of the last batch of its new Class 66 locomotives from the U.S. into the Port of Newport. 

The Class 66s arrived at the Port at 16:00 on Friday, 12th February, before being unloaded and coupled together again at 08:00 this morning. The process should last one to two days, after which they are scheduled to be transported to Doncaster on Monday 15 February. 

The procurement of these seven locomotives (66773 – 66779) from Electro-Motive Diesel, Inc. (EMD) is in addition to 21 EMD Class 66s that arrived in the UK last year, bringing GBRf’s Class 66 fleet total to 78 locomotives. Given their heavy freight capabilities, they will be used to support operations across various GBRf market portfolios. 

Today’s arrival is a significant moment for GB Railfreight. Securing these locomotives supports the company’s ability to continue to grow its share of the UK market and showcases the level of investment the company is making in its fleet. 

Today’s arrival of EMD Class 66s also marks the end of the Class 66 builds, as a result of EU emissions legislation changes. The level of investment required to design, develop, test and approve a new diesel locomotive, and one that aligns with these new regulations, means any new UK freight locomotive is a number of years away. 

GBRf has invested heavily in completely re-engineering Class 73 locomotives, with brand new power units, in order to give the company other diesel options with improved fuel economy and increased versatility. 

John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said: “Today is a significant moment for GB Railfreight. It marks the culmination of over two years of collaboration with EMD on the 66s build project and I want to thank them for all their hard work and dedication in reaching this point. 

“Today also marks the end of the Class 66 builds and these locomotives will be the last to arrive on UK soil. The rail freight industry now needs to work together to deliver a new generation of diesel locomotives that are legally compliant with the EU’s new diesel emissions regulations. 

“We are very pleased to have been able to secure these last seven Class 66 locomotives. They support the company’s continued growth and enable us to carry on serving our customers across various markets, particularly aggregates, reiterating our commitment to supporting the Government’s building Britain agenda.” 

Billy Ainsworth, President and CEO of Progress Rail Services, said: “Today serves as a milestone with the delivery of our last Class 66 locomotives. I’m pleased we were able to meet GBRf’s needs for reliability, fuel efficiency and overall locomotive performance. The Class 66 ranks as a top performer in its category. We are currently developing new generations of locomotives to meet our customers’ demands around the globe, just as we did through this offering. 

“I want to personally thank John Smith and the GBRf team for selecting EMD locomotives and entering into long-term maintenance agreements. It is truly an honor to be selected to meet their business needs, when you look at the number of options available today.”