USA: Last Class 66 Locomotives Roll Off Assembly Line
Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
GB Railfreight have received the last seven Class 66 Locomotives, which arrived in the UK from Newport, USA manufactured by Electro-Motive Diesel, Inc. (EMD)
The EMD Class 66s have been discontinued following changes to EU emissions legislation. The standards are now so high that the level of investment required to design, develop and gain approval for a new diesel locomotive means that a new UK freight locomotive is not likely to arrive on the market for years.
The purchase of the locomotives from EMD will add to GB Railfreight’s purchase of 21 Class 66s purchased in 2015, making up a total fleet of 78 locomotives. The heavy freight capabilities of the locomotives will broaden GB Railfreight’s portfolio across several markets. The acquisition forms part of GB Railfreight’s expansion of its fleet to increase its activities in the UK market.
GB Railfreight have invested in re-fitting Class 73 locomotives with alternative power units to provide alternatives to diesel power, with better fuel economy and 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.”