British Rail Class 60

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British Rail Class 60
60068 by Castleton East Junction.jpg
EWS 60068 passing through Castleton East Junction
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderBrush Traction
Build date1989–1993
Total produced100
 • UICCo′Co′
 • CommonwealthCo-Co
Gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Minimum curve80 metres (4.0 chains)[1]
Wheelbase15.3 m (50.2 ft)[2]
Length21.34 m (70 ft 0 in)[2]
Width2.64 m (8 ft 8 in)[2]
Height3.95 m (13 ft 0 in)[2]
Loco weight129 t (127 long tons; 142 short tons) or
131 t (129 long tons; 144 short tons)[2]
Fuel capacity5,900 litres (1,300 imp gal; 1,560 US gal)
Prime moverMirrlees MB275T[2]
MU workingWithin own class only
Train heatingNone
Train brakesAir
Performance figures
Maximum speed60 mph (97 km/h)[2]
Power outputEngine: 3,100 bhp (2,300 kW)
at rail: 2,415 bhp (1,801 kW)[2]
Tractive effortMaximum: 106,500 lbf (474 kN)[2]
Brakeforce62 kN (13,900 lbf) or 74 kN (16,600 lbf)[2]
Numbers60001-60015, 60017-60100, 60500
Axle load classRA 7

The British Rail Class 60 is a class of Co-Co heavy freight diesel-electric locomotives built by Brush Traction. They are nicknamed Tugs by rail enthusiasts.


In the 1980s, British Rail determined there was a requirement for a high-powered Type 5 diesel locomotive for use on its Trainload Freight sector. On 10 August 1987, the British Railways Board issued a competitive tender for response by 7 November, for a fleet of 100 locomotives. Of the six companies invited to tender, only three bid responses were received:[3]

Of the three bidders, Brush was selected, and an order was placed for 100 locomotives in a deal worth around £120 million.[2]

Brush sub-contracted parts construction, with final construction at Brush's erecting shops at Loughborough. The bodyshells, shared with the Class 92 electric locomotives, were fabricated by Procor (UK) of Wakefield. The engine was a higher-powered development of the Mirrlees engine previously fitted experimentally to British Rail Class 37 nos. 37901-37904.[4]

The first locomotive was delivered in June 1989 and sent to Derby for testing, which revealed a number of teething problems.[2] Parts requiring modifications included the axle box suspension and the Mirlees engine cylinder head.[4]



Unlike the Classes 59 and 66 (solid girder underframe) the Class 60s have a monocoque stressed skin construction with diagonal trusses - with the external bodywork providing support for the internal components.[5]

Two different cab designs were considered and full size mock-ups were made in wood, plastic and metal by the Engineering Development Unit at the Railway Technical Centre in Derby. One of these had a French-style raked-forward cab end, similar to the SNCF Class CC 72000, but this was rejected in favour of a more conventional cab.[6]


The main alternator is a Brush BA1006A type, providing power for the traction motors via rectification circuits to DC, the auxiliary alternator is Brush BAA 702A Auxiliary Alternator, providing power for the radiator fans, lubrication and fuel oil pumps, traction motor cooling fans and air compressors amongst others. The main and auxiliary alternators are both driven by the main engine.[7]

Each of the six axles is driven via a reduction gear by one nose suspended axle hung traction motor (Brush designed and built TM2161A four pole motors). Each motor has a separate microprocessor-controlled power supply (SEPEX in Brush's designation - from "Separately Excited"), a system that was first tried on one Class 58, 58050. One feature of this system is that if one set of wheels/axle/motor starts to wheelslip their speed can be reduced without affecting the other motors.[7]

Prime mover[edit]

The engine is an 8-cylinder, 145 litre Mirrlees Blackstone 8MB275T diesel traction engine (275 mm cylinder diameter);[8] the Mirrlees engine was one of the most fuel efficient available at the time (189g of fuel per kWhr), but relatively heavy. The engine was also successfully installed in marine applications such as small ships and passenger ferries. The low cylinder count for the rated power was expected to result in lower maintenance costs.[9]

Engine dimensions[10]
  • Eight cylinders in line
  • Bore, 275 mm (10.8 inch)
  • Stroke, 305 mm (12 inch)
  • Power output, 3,100 hp (2,311 kW) at 1,000 rpm

Current operators[edit]

DB Cargo UK[edit]

60019 (Westerleigh, 2009)

Following the privatisation of British Rail all 100 units came under the management of the English Welsh & Scottish (EWS),[4] It was EWS's policy not to reduce the 100 strong fleet, with both fire and collision damaged locomotives receiving repairs.[11] In 2003/04 a number of the fleet were stored, surplus to requirements.[11][note 1] Between 2004 and 2007 typically between 50–75%[note 2] of the fleet would be out of action at a given time.[4] In 2007 the operational fleet was estimated to be 60 locomotives.[11]

60079 (Westerleigh, 2012)

In June 2007 EWS was acquired by DB Schenker, a wholly owned subsidiary of the German railway company, Deutsche Bahn. Since working for EWS/DB Schenker, Class 60s have typically been employed on stone, aggregate, ballast and petroleum traffic and also on steel trains. By 2009 many Class 60s were in storage, with only fifteen in operation at any one time.[citation needed]

In September 2010 twenty of the class were offered for disposal by DB Schenker UK,[12][13] whilst in November 2010 DBS announced that 20 units would be overhauled.[14] In January 2011 DB Schenker announced that seven units would undergo an overhaul, with an option of an overhaul on a further fourteen units. In January 2013, the overhaul was described as an "upgrade" to create a new fleet of "Super 60's".[15] DB Schenker gave no technical details but, according to Tugtracker, there were mechanical upgrades trialled on 60099 and electrical upgrades trialled on 60011. Tugtracker also gives a list of eighteen locomotives upgraded between 1 September 2011 and 1 October 2013.[16]

In 2012 some Class 60s were offered for sale through Romic-Ace International Pte Ltd.[17] In late 2013 DB Schenker Rail UK offered 20 units for sale.[18] These were to be purchased on 31 October 2013 by Doncaster-based Wabtec Rail in a £10m deal - the deal was reported to have fallen through in 2014.[19]

In August 2017 DB Cargo UK 20 (60003, 004, 005, 006, 008, 013, 014, 018, 022, 023, 025, 027, 030, 031, 032, 037, 042, 050, 051, and 052) were sold to Wabtec Rail.[20]

In late 2018 DB Cargo UK offered 3 Class 60's (60004, 014 and 018) for sale, which caused the status of the previous sale of Class 60 locomotives to Wabtec to be uncertain, given all 3 locomotives had thought to have been included in the previous Wabtec sale.[21]

On 1 December 2018 DB Cargo UK offered further Class 60 for sale - 60008, 028, 029, 046, 055, 064, 070 and 098, which was the first time 60064 had been put up for sale.[22]

GB Railfreight[edit]

In July 2018 Colas Rail sold all ten of its Class 60 locomotives to GB Railfreight, having replaced them with a further seven orders for Class 70 locomotives.[23]

Former operators[edit]

British Rail[edit]

60024 (at Eastleigh)

By 1990, the class had started to be introduced onto the mainline, replacing previously double headed Class 33 Type 3s in the South East region, as well as Classes 20, 26, 27, 31 and 73.[4] The first locos accepted into traffic were 60017 and 60018 in October 1990.[3] The class 60s primarily worked on aggregate (specifically stone) traffic also replacing Class 56s and Class 58s, some of which were withdrawn, others transferred.[2] Their introduction replaced double-heading and also allowed longer and/or heavier trains to be worked.[4]

Colas Rail[edit]

60076 (Bristol, 2015)

In June 2014 it was reported that 10 locos have been sold to Colas Rail. The numbers are 60 002/021/026/047/056/076/085/087/095/096.[24] The first one to appear in the Colas yellow and orange livery was 60087, which was photographed at Burton-on-Trent on 2 June 2014.[25] In July 2018 Colas Rail sold all ten of its locomotives to GB Railfreight.[26]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

Naming and liveries[edit]

60054 named Charles Babbage

In 1989 Railfreight named the Class 60s in traditional fashion; those locomotives attached to the construction and metals sectors were named after British mountains as were some attached to the coal sector. The others (coal and petroleum sectors) received the names of famous British citizens, with an emphasis on those whose contribution had been to science and engineering. Locomotives numbered 60001 and 60098 were exceptions, being named Steadfast and Charles Francis Brush respectively.[28] The locomotives received the standard liveries of their respective sectors.

After coming into EWS's ownership, the Class 60 locomotives were repainted in the red and yellow EWS livery as and when repainting was necessary. Many others carried vinyl stickers on their sides over the former BR sector liveries, demonstrating EWS's ownership. A few locos received new names including 60033: Corus Tees Steel Express and 60081: repainted in a mock Great Western Railway green livery and renamed Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 2000.

In 2007/08, two locomotives received special liveries: 60074 received a 'powder blue' livery and was named Teenage Spirit at the NRM in York as part of a charity event for the Teenage Cancer Trust. 60040 was repainted in a red livery and named The Territorial Army Centenary as part of the celebration of that event. Both of these locos have since been repainted into standard DB Schenker livery.

In 2010 class 60 number 60099 was repainted into a Tata Steel silver livery and logo at Toton TMD and unveiled at Tata's Scunthorpe plant on 27 September.[29][30]

In January 2011, 60011 became the first member of the class to receive the standard DB Schenker livery, after a repaint at Toton TMD.[31]

In late May 2014, 60087 emerged from Toton TMD in Colas livery. It has now been joined by 60002, 021, 026, 047, 056, 076, 085, 095 and 096.

Class list[edit]

Number Original name Subsequent names Notes
60001 Steadfast The Railway Observer
60002 Capability Brown 1) High Peak
2) Tempest
60004 Lochnagar
60005 Skiddaw BP Gas Avonmouth
60006 Great Gable Scunthorpe Ironmaster
60007 Robert Adam The Spirit of Tom Kendall
60008 Moel Fammau Sir William McAlpine
60009 Carnedd Dafydd
60010 Pumlumom/Plynlimon
60011 Cader Idris
60012 Glyder Fawr
60013 Robert Boyle
60014 Alexander Fleming
60015 Bow Fell
60016 Langdale Pikes Rail Magazine Renumbered 60500
60017 Arenig Fawr Shotton Works Centenary Year 1996
60018 Moel Siabod
60019 Wild Boar Fell 1) Port of Grimsby & Immingham
2) Pathfinder Tours
30 Years of Railtouring 1973-2003
60020 Great Whernside Pride of Colnbrook
60021 Pen-y-Ghent Star of the East
60022 Ingleborough
60023 The Cheviot
60024 Elizabeth Fry Clitheroe Castle
60025 Joseph Lister Caledonian Paper
60026 William Caxton
60027 Joseph Banks
60028 John Flamsteed
60029 Ben Nevis Clitheroe Castle
60030 Cir Mhor
60031 Ben Lui ABP Connect
60032 William Booth
60033 Anthony Ashley Cooper Tees Steel Express
60034 Carnedd Llewelyn
60035 Florence Nightingale
60036 Sgurr na Ciche GEFCO
60037 Aberthaw/Aberddawan
60038 Bidean nam Bian AvestaPolarit
60039 Glastonbury Tor Dove Holes
60040 Brecon Beacons The Territorial Army Centenary
60041 High Willhays
60042 Dunkery Beacon The Hundred of Hoo
60043 Yes Tor
60044 Ailsa Craig Dowlow
60045 Josephine Butler The Permanent Way Institution
60046 William Wilberforce
60047 Robert Owen
60048 Saddleback Eastern
60049 Scafell
60050 Roseberry Topping
60051 Mary Somerville
60052 Glofa Twr The last deep mine in Wales Tower Colliery
60053 John Reith Nordic Terminal
60054 Charles Babbage
60055 Thomas Barnardo
60056 William Beveridge
60057 Adam Smith
60058 John Howard
60059 Samuel Plimsoll Swinden Dalesman
60060 James Watt
60061 Alexander Graham Bell
60062 Samuel Johnson Stainless Pioneer
60063 James Murray
60064 Back Tor
60065 Kinder Low Spirit of JAGUAR
60066 John Logie Baird
60067 James Clerk-Maxwell
60068 Charles Darwin
60069 Humphry Davy Slioch
60070 John Loudon McAdam
60071 Dorothy Garrod Ribblehead Viaduct
60072 Cairn Toul
60073 Cairn Gorm
60074 Braeriach Teenage Spirit
60075 Liathach
60076 Suilven Dunbar
60077 Canisp
60078 Stac Pollaidh
60079 Foinaven
60080 Kinder Scout 1) Stanley Common
EWS Rail Safety Competition Winners 2003
2) Bispham Drive Junior School,
EWS Rail Safety Competition Winners 2004
60081 Bleaklow Hill Isambard Kingdom Brunel
60082 Mam Tor
60083 Mountsorrel
60084 Cross Fell
60085 Axe Edge Mini - Pride of Oxford
60086 Schiehallion
60087 Slioch 1) Barry Needham
2) CLIC Sargent
60088 Buachaille Etive Mor
60089 Arcuil The Railway Horse
60090 Quinag
60091 An Teallach Barry Needham
60092 Reginald Munns
60093 Jack Stirk Adrian Harrington 1955-2003
Royal Navy/BurgesSalmon
60094 Tryfan Rugby Flyer
60095 Crib Goch
60096 Ben Macdui
60097 Pillar Port of Grimsby and Immingham
60098 Charles Francis Brush
60099 Ben More Assynt
60100 Boar of Badenoch 1) Pride of Acton
2) Midland Railway Butterley


The Class 60 Preservation Group aims to secure a Class 60 for preservation, when one becomes available.[32]


The locomotives have been reproduced in scale model form by Heljan in O scale, Lima and Hornby in OO scale and Graham Farish in British N scale.


  1. ^ At the same time the Class 47, 56 and 58 fleets were withdrawn and the Class 37 fleet reduced ("Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 2014-12-31. see 2000 to present day)
  2. ^ During this period the Class 60s saw more work during the winter, and higher numbers available for work - owing to the seasonal demand for fuel oil.


  1. ^ Gleed, Edward (2016-07-15). British Rail Class 60 Locomotives. Ramsbury, Marlborough: The Croewood Press Ltd. ISBN 978 1 78500 150 5.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Glasspool, David. "Class 60". Kent Rail. Retrieved 31 December 2013.[unreliable source?]
  3. ^ a b "Railspot Reloaded". Gloucester Transport History. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "rolling stock : class 60". 25 June 2011. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2013.[unreliable source?]
  5. ^ "Body". November 2008. Retrieved 31 December 2013.[unreliable source?]
  6. ^ Modern Locomotives Illustrated (206): 5–6. April–May 2014. ISSN 1756-8188. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ a b "Electrical Systems". 10 October 2010. Retrieved 31 December 2013.[unreliable source?]
  8. ^ "Engine and Engine Systems". December 2008. Retrieved 31 December 2013.[unreliable source?]
  9. ^ Sources:
  10. ^ Modern Locomotives Illustrated (206): 16. April–May 2014. ISSN 1756-8188. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ a b c "Background". July 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2013.[unreliable source?]
  12. ^ "Items for disposal - New Items for September 2010". Archived from the original on 12 December 2010.
  13. ^ "First 60s to be sold by DB Schenker" (PDF). Railway Herald (238): 5. 23 September 2010.
  14. ^ Rail Express (175). News, p.4. December 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ "DB Schenker Rail invests in 'Super 60' high power locomotives" (Press release). DB Schenker Rail UK. 18 January 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-21.
  16. ^ "Class 60 Locomotive - Overhauled Loco Fleet List". Retrieved 2014-04-21.
  17. ^ "Heavy Haul Freight Locomotives for Sale or Lease". Archived from the original on 8 September 2012.
  18. ^ Milner, Chris (12 September 2013). "DB Schenker puts 20 Class 60s up for sale". The Railway Magazine.
  19. ^ Modern Locomotives Illustrated (206): 3. April–May 2014. ISSN 1756-8188. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ Class 60s sold to Wabtec Railways Illustrated 8 August 2017
  21. ^ DB Cargo to Dispose of 3 Class 60's DB Cargo UK 28 November 2018
  22. ^ DB Cargo to Dispose of 8 Class 60's DB Cargo UK 04 December 2018
  23. ^ "GB Railfreight buys more locomotives".
  24. ^ Railways Illustrated (136): 15. June 2014. ISSN 1479-2230. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  25. ^ Rail Express (218): 3. July 2014. ISSN 1362-234X. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Derailment of a freight train near Langworth, Lincolnshire 30 June 2015" (PDF). Rail Accident Investigation Branch. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  28. ^ "Original Names". 13 July 2008. Retrieved 31 December 2013.[unreliable source?]
  29. ^ "Tata Steel's arrival into the UK celebrated by DB Schenker". 27 September 2010.
  30. ^ KBRAILVIDEOS (26 September 2009). Ex-Works 60099 NEW LIVERY - TATA STEEL - DB Schenker - Toton TMD. YouTube.
  31. ^ Mark Thomas (12 January 2011). "60011 in DB Schenker livery at Margam Knuckle Yard". Outshopped at Toton just days earlier 60011 was released and ran overnight via Newport ADJ to Margam to work the Robeston oil trains. This is the first of the class to receive DB Schenker livery.
  32. ^ "Home - The Class 60 Preservation Group". 11 June 2009. Archived from the original on 5 February 2016. Retrieved 2014-06-30.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]