British Rail Class 68

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British Rail Class 68
68005 and 68 number 018 Leeds to Canterbury West 1Z68 The Retro Canterbury Belle (28192732875).jpg
Direct Rail Services 68 005 leads a Charter Train towards Canterbury West
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
Builder
ModelStadler UKLight[1]
Build date2013–2017
Total produced34
Specifications
Configuration:
 • UICBo'Bo'
 • CommonwealthBo-Bo
Gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Wheel diameter1,100 mm (3 ft 7 13 in)
Loco weightapproximately 85 t (84 long tons; 94 short tons)[2]
Fuel typediesel
Fuel capacity5,000 L (1,100 imp gal; 1,300 US gal)
Prime moverCaterpillar C175-16[3]
AlternatorABB WCqx560pb6
Traction motorsFour ABB 4FRA6063 (600 kW)
MU working
  • Within class and class 88.[4]
  • 68 008 – 68 015: AAR System, compatible with Classes 59, 66, 67 plus AAR fitted Mk3 coaches and DVTs.
Train heatingElectric,
HEP inverter up to 500 kW (ETH index 96[5])
Loco brakeBlended: Rheostatic braking (2100kW); electropneumatic.[2]
Performance figures
Maximum speed100 mph (160 km/h)
Power output3,800 hp (2,800 kW) at 1,740 rpm
Tractive effort317 kN (71,000 lbf)
Career
Operators
Numbers68 001–68 034
Official nameUKLight
Axle load classRA 7[4]
Delivered2014
First run2014
Current ownerBeacon Rail
Sources: Technical parameters.[6] (except where noted)

The Class 68 is a type of mainline mixed traffic diesel-electric locomotive manufactured by Stadler Rail (and previously by Vossloh España) for Direct Rail Services in the United Kingdom. The design is derived from the Stadler Eurolight, and Stadler's product name for this variant is the UKLight.

Delivery of the second batch of Class 68s – also for Direct Rail Services, and the first to be built by Stadler – was completed delivery in April 2016.[7] Delivery of the third batch of Class 68s was completed in July 2017.

Background[edit]

On 5 January 2012 Direct Rail Services announced it had placed an order for fifteen 100 mph (160 km/h) Vossloh Eurolight locomotives from Vossloh España for intermodal and passenger work with a 16-cylinder 3,800 hp (2.8 MW) C175-16 engine from Caterpillar Inc. to be delivered from late 2013; these would be leased from Beacon Rail.[8][9] The value of the contract has been estimated at £45 million.[4] An option for ten further locomotives was confirmed to have been taken up in September 2014.[10] Further to this, on 28 July 2015 Vossloh España announced an order for a further seven locomotives from DRS.[11]

The locomotives have been given TOPS class 68,[12] Stadler's product name for the design is UKLight.[13]

The Class 68 complies with Stage III A of the European emission standards but not Stage III B.[14]

Delivery[edit]

The first locomotive, 68 001, spent several months being tested at Velim Test Centre in the Czech Republic prior to being shipped to the UK. The second locomotive in the class, 68 002, was the first to arrive in the UK in January 2014.[15][16][17][18]

Current operations[edit]

Direct Rail Services[edit]

The Class 68 is a mixed-traffic locomotive intended for use on both passenger and freight trains. DRS had indicated that the locomotives will likely be used on container traffic, and on Network Rail trains for which it is contracted to operate.[19] They are now routinely used on nuclear flask trains.

The first passenger trains hauled by Class 68s were DRS special services for the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.[20]

Chiltern Railways[edit]

Chiltern Railways have sub-leased six DRS Class 68s (68 010 to 68 015), from December 2014, which have replaced Class 67s on its Chiltern Main Line services between London Marylebone and Birmingham Snow Hill.[21][22][23] These are painted in Chiltern's silver Mainline livery and are fitted with Association of American Railroads (AAR) push-pull equipment to allow them to operate with Mark 3 coaching stock sets. Two DRS-liveried locomotives (68 008 and 68 009) have also been fitted with AAR push-pull equipment.[24]

TransPennine Express[edit]

TransPennine Express (TPE) initially sub-leased fourteen Class 68 locomotives (68 019 to 68 032) from Direct Rail Services, for initial use on the Liverpool Lime Street to Scarborough route. Once more sets are delivered and staff have been trained they will also work Manchester Airport to Redcar Central services. These will haul five-car rakes of Mark 5A coaches, with a driving trailer at the opposite end.[25][26] The TPE vinyled locomotives do not feature yellow front ends, following a change to the regulations.[27] In April 2020, nos. 68 033 and 68 034 were added to the TPE pool, to provide added resilience to the sub-fleet.

In November 2017, 68 021 Tireless was moved from the Crewe Gresty Lane TMD to Southampton Docks and ultimately transported to the Velim Test Track in the Czech Republic for testing with the new Mark 5A coaches. Testing included brake-force tests and door-interlock testing before the locomotive was returned to Great Britain in July 2018.

Former operations[edit]

Abellio ScotRail[edit]

Abellio ScotRail sub-leased two Class 68s, to haul sets of six Mark 2 coaches, for use on peak hour services on the Fife Circle Line. These were 68 006 and 68 007, which carried the Saltire livery. These services commenced on the first day of Abellio Scotrail operation, 1 April 2015, with the last service operating on 29 May 2020 as the PRM-TSI derogations for the non-compliant Mark 2 coaches ended on 31 May of that year.

Fleet[edit]

34 Class 68 locomotives were delivered.

68 008 Avenger

Before delivery, each of the first nine locomotives was named. All of the other Class 68 locomotives (except 68 011–68 015) have also been named; 68 033/034 are yet to be named (with the provisional names listed below) but they were still nameless as of 30 April 2020.[28]

68 010 was named Oxford Flyer on 12 December 2016, in celebration of Chiltern Railways' new London-Oxford services. 68 028 was named Lord President in August 2018, without ceremony, at Crewe Gresty Bridge Depot.

Number Name Operator
68 001 Evolution Direct Rail Services
68 002 Intrepid
68 003 Astute
68 004 Rapid
68 005 Defiant
68 006 Daring
68 007 Valiant
68 008 Avenger
68 009 Titan
68 010 Oxford Flyer Chiltern Railways
68 011
68 012
68 013
68 014
68 015
68 016 Fearless Direct Rail Services
68 017 Hornet
68 018 Vigilant
68 019 Brutus TransPennine Express
68 020 Reliance
68 021 Tireless
68 022 Resolution
68 023 Achilles
68 024 Centaur
68 025 Superb
68 026 Enterprise
68 027 Splendid
68 028 Lord President
68 029 Courageous
68 030 Black Douglas
68 031 Felix
68 032 Destroyer
68 033 Direct Rail Services
68 034

Fleet Details[edit]

Class Operator Sub-leased to No. Built Year Built Loco nos.
Class 68 Direct Rail Services Direct Rail Services 14 2013–17 68 001–009, 68 016–018, 68 033–034
Chiltern Railways 6 68 010–015
TransPennine Express 14 68 019–032[26]

Incidents[edit]

68 015 suffered a minor fire, near High Wycombe, on 23 October 2015.

68 011 suffered a minor fire, near Saunderton, on 8 January 2016.[29]

Liveries[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "References Vossloh Rail Vehicles". Archived from the original on 22 March 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Vossloh España unveils Direct Rail Services Class 68". railwaygazette.com. 16 December 2013.
  3. ^ DRS Class 68 Next Generation Diesel-Electric Locomotive
  4. ^ a b c Johnson, Marc (1 April 2014). "Sleek lines". The Rail Engineer.
  5. ^ Pritchard, Robert; Hall, Peter (2018). British Railways Locomotives & Coaching Stock 2018. Sheffield: Platform 5 Publishing. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-909431-44-7.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  6. ^ "UK LIGHT Diesel-Electric Locomotive" (PDF). Vossloh Rail Vehicles. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 April 2014.
  7. ^ DRS 68023-025 arrive in the UK
  8. ^ "Direct Rail Services orders 15 Vossloh EuroLight UK locomotives". Railway Gazette. Railway Gazette International. 5 January 2012.
  9. ^ Barrow, Keith (12 September 2013). "DRS confirms order for Vossloh electro-diesels". International Railway Journal.
  10. ^ Barrow, Keith (12 September 2014). "DRS orders more Vossloh locomotives". International Railway Journal.
  11. ^ "UK and Italian operators order Vossloh locomotives". 27 July 2015.
  12. ^ "Direct Rail Services reveals Class 68 design". Railway Gazette International. 1 February 2013.
  13. ^ "The diesel-electric EUROLIGHT picks up speed toward the UK and Asia". Vossloh. Retrieved 30 April 2014.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ Rail Express (217): 9. June 2014. ISSN 1362-234X. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ "Vossloh 2680". MainlineDiesels.net. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  16. ^ Gary Baldwin – Mercury Stone (10 December 2013). "Exclusive: Class 68 in new DRS livery". Direct Rail Services. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  17. ^ "DRS unveils new Class 68 diesel in Crewe". Railnews. 12 March 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  18. ^ "BRL Home". Beaconrail.com. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  19. ^ Pritchard, Robert (May 2014). "DRS showcases first Class 68". Today's Railways. Platform 5 Publishing (149): 62–63.
  20. ^ Direct Rail Services, Ryder Cup 2014
  21. ^ "Chiltern to lease six Class 68 locomotives from DRS". Railway Herald. Scunthorpe. 10 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  22. ^ "Chiltern leases six Class 68 locos for Mainline services in £15m deal". Rail Technology Magazine. Manchester: Cognitive Publishing. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  23. ^ "Chiltern Railways chooses Class 68 in favour of Class 67". mainlinediesels.net. 10 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  24. ^ "68s equipped with push-pull". Rail. No. 754. Peterborough. 6 August 2014. p. 33.
  25. ^ Briginshaw, David (23 May 2016). "CAF to supply trains to TransPennine Express". International Railway Journal. Falmouth: Simmons-Boardman Publishing. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  26. ^ a b Clinnick, Richard (1 March 2017). "New-build DRS Class 68s to operate TPE's Mk 5 rakes". Rail. Peterborough. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  27. ^ "Yellow front ends become optional". Railway Gazette International. Sutton. 12 March 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  28. ^ "Diesel Locomotives". AbRail. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  29. ^ Train fire causes severe disruption.

External links[edit]