British Rail Class 69

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British Rail Class 69
Type and origin
Doncaster Works
Crewe Works
Build date1976–1984
RebuilderProgress Rail, Longport
Rebuild date2019–
Number rebuilt16 (planned)
 • UICCo'Co'
 • CommonwealthCo-Co
Gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Length63 ft 6 in (19.35 m)
Width9 ft 2 in (2.79 m)
Height12 ft 9 in (3.89 m)
Fuel typeDiesel
Prime moverEMD 710 (12-710)
Loco brakeAir
OperatorsGB Railfreight

The British Rail Class 69 is a planned class of sixteen diesel locomotives which is to be converted from existing Class 56 locomotives.


In June 2018, GB Railfreight purchased sixteen Class 56 locomotives from UK Rail Leasing, many of which had been out of use for a number of years.[1][2]

In April 2019, GB Railfreight announced that sixteen locomotives would be rebuilt as Class 69s by Progress Rail, with the existing Ruston-Paxman engine replaced by an EMD 710 12 cylinder powerplant, with updated electronic controls based on those used in the Class 66 also due to be installed. The prototype locomotive, 69001, is due for delivery in May 2020.[3][4]

GBRFs engineering director, Bob Tiller, stated that a complete rebuild and re-engine of each locomotive would be cheaper than buying brand new locomotives and shipping them in from abroad. Tiller also highlighted the EMD 710 engines' environmentally friendly emission status as compared to some older locomotives, including the Class 66, which at the time of the announcement were over 20 years old.[5]


The new engine will be an EMD 710A, as fitted to Class 66 locomotives numbers 66752-66779, which is IIIa emission-compliant. The original underframe, bogies, traction motors and brake system will be retained and overhauled. New compressors, blower motors and electronic cubicles will be fitted. The AAR multiple unit system will be used.[6]

Fleet details[edit]

Class Operator Number Year Built Loco nos Notes
Class 69 GB Railfreight 16 TBC 69001–69016 Converted from Class 56 locomotives

Donor locomotives[edit]

Number Rebuilt from Original
TBA 56007 Electroputere
TBA 56009 Electroputere
69003 56018 Electroputere
69002 56031 Doncaster Works
TBA 56032 Doncaster Works
TBA 56037 Doncaster Works
TBA 56038 Doncaster Works
TBA 56060 Doncaster Works
TBA 56065 Doncaster Works
TBA 56069 Doncaster Works
TBA 56077 Doncaster Works
TBA 56081 Doncaster Works
TBA 56098 Doncaster Works
TBA 56104 Doncaster Works
N/A 56106 Doncaster Works Locomotive will be stripped for parts for others in the scheme[7]
TBA 56128 Crewe Works

69001 56311


  1. ^ GBRf buys 16 Class 56s from UK Rail Leasing The Railway Magazine issue 1408 July 2018 page 94
  2. ^ GBRf purchases 56s from UK Rail Leasing Today's Railways UK issue 200 August 2018 page 62
  3. ^ Clinnick, Richard. "GBRf confirms Class 69 conversion". Rail (magazine). Rail Magazine. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  4. ^ GB Railfreight to repower GB Railfreight locomotives Railway Gazette International 3 April 2019
  5. ^ Puddicombe, Daniel (8 May 2019). "GBRF identifies benefits in re-engined Class 56s". Rail Magazine. No. 878. Peterborough: Bauer Media. p. 33. ISSN 0953-4563.
  6. ^ Dunn, Pip (June 2019). "GBRf signs for 16 Class 69s". Railways Illustrated. No. 196. p. 10.
  7. ^ Pritchard, Robert (June 2019). "More "bodysnatchers": GBRF announces class 56 rebuild project". Today's Railways. No. 210. Sheffield: Platform 5. p. 60. ISSN 1475-9713.