British Rail Class 70 (diesel)

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This article is about the 2010s diesel locomotive. For the prototype electric locomotive produced by the Southern Railway in the 1940s, see British Rail Class 70 (electric).
British Rail Class 70
Trimley Branch Line - Freightliner 70017.jpg
Freightliner 70017 working a container train out of the Port of Felixstowe in June 2012
Type and origin
Power type Diesel-electric
Builder General Electric
Model PH37ACmi[1]
Build date 2008–2014
Total produced 30
Configuration Co-Co
UIC classification Co'Co'
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Wheel diameter 1,067 mm (42.0 in)
Length 21.710 m (71 ft 2.7 in)
Width 2.642 m (8 ft 8.0 in)
Height 3.917 m (12 ft 10.2 in)
Locomotive weight 129 t (127 long tons; 142 short tons) (empty)[n 1]
Fuel capacity 6,000 l (1,300 imp gal; 1,600 US gal)
Prime mover GE PowerHaul P616
Alternator GE GTA series
Traction motors GE 5GEB30 axle hung
Performance figures
Maximum speed 120 km/h (75 mph)
Power output Engine: 2,750 kW (3,690 bhp)
Tractive effort 534 kN (120,000 lbf) (starting)
Operator(s) Freightliner
Colas Rail
Number(s) 70001-70020
Sources:[2][3][4] Except where given

The Class 70 is a six axle Co-Co mainline freight GE PowerHaul locomotive series manufactured by General Electric in Erie, Pennsylvania. The orders in 2007 for 20 units, with an option for a further 10, for Freightliner for operations in the United Kingdom were the first orders for the PowerHaul type; General Electric's product code for the class of loco is PH37ACmi.

Background and specification[edit]

Main article: GE PowerHaul

In November 2007, Freightliner UK announced Project Genesis (unrelated to GE's Genesis series built for Amtrak), a procurement plan for 30 freight locomotives from General Electric. The locomotives ordered were intended to match older types in terms of haulage capacity whilst at the same time being more fuel-efficient. The project was a collaborative effort between Freightliner and GE, with input from drivers on the cab design.[5][6] The locomotives utilize a GE PowerHaul P616 diesel engine rated at 2,750 kW (3,690 hp).[1] the locomotive meets EU Tier IIIa emission regulations.[7] Freightliner expects that the locomotive's efficiency is 7% better than contemporary models, with a further 3% increase in efficiency whilst braking; regenerative braking is used to supply the energy to power auxiliary motors.[2][4]

It was speculated that these locomotives would receive the TOPS classification Class 68,[8] however the locomotives were given the Class 70 TOPS code,[9][10] breaking the previous convention that class numbers in the 70s were used for DC electric locomotives.

The new locomotives are similar in appearance to a Class 58; a hood unit design with a narrow body typical of locomotive types in use in North America, the cabs are accessed from the rear via exterior walkways on the narrow part of the hood. The distinctive front end shape is due to crashworthiness features[7][n 2] It is also fitted with air conditioning and acoustic insulation to improve the crew's environment, making it an improvement over the Class 66.[4]

Introduction and operations[edit]

Freightliner 70001 Powerhaul

Freightliner locomotives[edit]

Construction of the first two locomotives at GE's Erie, Pennsylvania plant was completed in July 2009, with both locomotives being tested during the same month.[11][12] The original plan was for two months of testing, with the locomotives then spending a further three weeks being modified where necessary and prepared for transport to the United Kingdom.[13]

The first two locomotives (nos. 70001 and 70002) arrived in Britain on 8 November 2009 at Newport Docks.[14] The delivery gave GE its first locomotives in service on the British rail network. The first locomotive was given the name 'PowerHaul' at Leeds on 24 November 2009.[7]

Four more locomotives were delivered to the UK on 2 December 2009.[15] On operation tests, 70001 hauled a 30-wagon train consisting of 60 iso containers during December 2009.[15] 70002 also hauled a 19 hopper 1300 tonne coal train in the same month.[16]

On 19 and 20 December 2010, five Class 70 locomotives were loaded onto Beluga Endurance[17] at Erie, Pennsylvania; on 5 January 2011, the ship docked at Newport Docks. Locomotives 70008 to 70011 were unloaded without any problems; locomotive 70012 was being unloaded when part of the lifting gear failed, causing the locomotive to fall approximately 13 to 20 ft (4 to 6 m) from the crane, back into the hold of the ship,. The impact severely bent the locomotive's frame, rendering it unserviceable and resulting in its later being returned to the USA.[18]

The BBC Colorado docked at Newport on 17 December 2011 and unloading of four more class 70s commenced in the late hours of the morning of 18 December 2011.[citation needed]

On 5 April 2012 70018 had an engine room fire requiring the attention of the fire brigade, whilst hauling a freight train on the line between Basingstoke and Winchester.[19][20]

Turkish demonstrator[edit]

In August 2012 it was announced that the demonstrator locomotive built in Turkey in 2011[21] was to be transferred to the UK and allocated the number 70099.[22] The locomotive was to be allocated to the private owners pool for use as required.[23] On 19 November 2012 it was announced that 70099 was to test trial with GBRf for coal and intermodal traffic trials,[citation needed]

Colas Rail locomotives[edit]

Colas Rail 70805 new in 2014

In November 2013, Colas Rail announced it had agreed a deal to procure 10 Class 70 locomotives, with new builds to be assembled in Erie, Pennsylvania for entry into service in 2014;[24] the order included the Turkish built demonstrator 70099, renumbered as 70801, and the remainder of Freightliner's original order option of 30 locos.[25] Colas's locomotives have been allotted numbers in the 708xx range. 70802-70805 had already been constructed at the time of the order and are due to be shipped to the UK in January 2014, with the rest to be assembled and delivered later the same year.[26]

Number of Locos/Fleet[edit]

Operator Subclass Number built (year) TOPS number range Currently in UK Notes
Freightliner 70/0 20 (2009–2011) 70001-70020 70001-70011
Intended for both heavy haul and intermodal trains.
70012 dropped while being unloaded at Newport; returned to manufacturers.[27]
Colas Rail 70/8 1 (2011) 70801-70810 70801 Built as demonstrator for Turkish Railways. Transferred to UK in 2012 as 70099. Renumbered 2013.
9 (2014) 70802-70810

List of Class 70 locomotives[edit]

Current Number Previous Number Current name Previous name(s) Current Livery Operator Status Notes
Class Class
70001 N/A Powerhaul N/A Freightliner Powerhaul Freightliner Operational
70002 N/A N/A N/A Freightliner Powerhaul Freightliner Operational
70003 N/A N/A N/A Freightliner Powerhaul Freightliner Operational
70004 N/A The Coal Power Industry N/A Freightliner Powerhaul Freightliner Operational
70005 N/A N/A N/A Freightliner Powerhaul Freightliner Operational
70006 N/A N/A N/A Freightliner Powerhaul Freightliner Operational
70007 N/A N/A N/A Freightliner Powerhaul Freightliner Operational
70008 N/A N/A N/A Freightliner Powerhaul Freightliner Operational
70009 N/A N/A N/A Freightliner Powerhaul Freightliner Operational
70010 N/A N/A N/A Freightliner Powerhaul Freightliner Operational
70011 N/A N/A N/A Freightliner Powerhaul Freightliner Operational
70012 N/A N/A N/A Freightliner Powerhaul Freightliner Withdrawal Dropped During Unloading
70013 N/A N/A N/A Freightliner Powerhaul Freightliner Operational
70014 N/A N/A N/A Freightliner Powerhaul Freightliner Operational
70015 N/A N/A N/A Freightliner Powerhaul Freightliner Operational
70016 N/A N/A N/A Freightliner Powerhaul Freightliner Operational
70017 N/A N/A N/A Freightliner Powerhaul Freightliner Operational
70018 N/A N/A N/A Freightliner Powerhaul Freightliner Operational
70019 N/A N/A N/A Freightliner Powerhaul Freightliner Operational
70020 N/A N/A N/A Freightliner Powerhaul Freightliner Operational
70801 70099 N/A N/A COLAS RAIL colas rail freight Operational Renumbered from Turkish demonstrator 70099
70802 N/A N/A N/A COLAS RAIL colas rail freight Operational
70803 N/A N/A N/A COLAS RAIL colas rail freight Operational
70804 N/A N/A N/A COLAS RAIL colas rail freight Operational
70805 N/A N/A N/A COLAS RAIL colas rail freight Operational


  • 70001 "PowerHaul"[7]
  • 70004 "The Coal Industry Society"[28]


  1. ^ Full mass is 135t, as displayed on the locomotives information plate.[citation needed]
  2. ^ The relevant standard at the time of introduction being EN 15227.


  1. ^ a b "Freightliner order 30 General Electric Genesis JS37ACi locomotives". 26 November 2007. 
  2. ^ a b PowerHaulTM locomotive specification sheet (Version 3). Freightliner details may not be final[dead link]
  3. ^ "GE’s PowerHaul® Series Locomotive", (GE Transportation), retrieved 8 January 2012 
  4. ^ a b c "Freightliner PowerHaul loco design on show". Railway Gazette International. 8 September 2008. 
  5. ^ "Freightliner Group Orders 30 Locomotives from GE - Transportation for UK Market" (Press release). GE Transportation. 26 November 2007. 
  6. ^ "Freightliner Group Ltd has placed an order for 30 brand new locomotives". (Press release). Freightliner (UK). 19 November 2007. [dead link]
  7. ^ a b c d "PowerHaul brings Evolution technology to Europe". Railway Gazette International. 26 November 2009. 
  8. ^ "How Freightliner's new GE locos will look". The Railway Magazine: p63. November 2008. 
  9. ^ Rail Express: p5. October 2009.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ Railways Illustrated: p13. November 2009.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ "PowerHaul® locos ready for testing" (PDF). (Press release). Freightliner Group Ltd. 10 July 2009. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Freightliner PowerHaul locomotives ready for testing". Railway Gazette International. 10 July 2009. 
  13. ^ Haigh, Philip; Clinnick, Richard (2009). "Freightliner PowerHaul starts tests ready for autumn". Rail (623): 6–7. 
  14. ^ "PowerHaul arrival brings GE into European loco market". Railway Gazette International. 8 November 2009. 
  15. ^ a b "PowerHaul - Longer, Heavier Trains". Freightliner Group. Freightliner is pleased to announce that PowerHaul locomotive 70001 has successfully completed operational trials hauling, the first ever 30 wagon train to and from the Port of Felixstowe [dead link]
  16. ^ "PowerHaul runs first loaded trial". QMJ Publishing. 4 December 2009. 
  17. ^ Erie Shipping News (20 December 2010). "Beluga Endurance in the port of Erie". 
  18. ^ "New Class 70 dropped during unloading". RAIL (Bauer Consumer Media) (662). 26 January 2011. [dead link]
  19. ^ Sources:
  20. ^ Adrian Williams (5 April 2012), "70018 On fire near Wallers Ash Loop" (IMAGE), 
  21. ^ "Tülomsas rolls out Turkish PowerHaul". Railway Gazette. 1 March 2011. 
  22. ^ Coward, Andy (2012). "Demonstrator '70' set for UK use". Rail (701): 30. 
  23. ^ Coward, Andy (2012). "GBRf in the frame for Turkish '70'". Rail (702): 33. 
  24. ^ "Colas Rail orders 10 GE Transportation PowerHaul locomotives". Railway Gazette. 21 November 2013. 
  25. ^ "Colas Rail PowerHaul order now official [Updated 2013-11-22]". Mainline 22 November 2013. Archived from the original on 7 December 2013. 
  26. ^ "Colas Class 70 moves". Railways Illustrated (Eastfield Media): 11. January 2014. 
  27. ^ "Macquarie Class 70/0". Retrieved 2014-10-10. 
  28. ^ A. Samuel (11 February 2011). "Freightliner names PowerHaul 70004". 

External links[edit]