UK rail freight operator GBRf and the Class 50 Alliance (C50A) have today announced that mainline registered Class 50 locomotives 50007 Hercules and 50049 Defiance are to be repainted into the latest GBRf livery.
GBRf worked closely with the C50A in enabling a return to the mainline for their locomotives in 2017 and subsequently through a programme of railtours during 2018 as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Class 50s.
The decision to repaint the locomotives into the striking new livery is a recognition of the developing relationship between the two organisations and marks a new chapter in the story of the Class 50s.
Over the past couple of years, GBRf has invested in a programme of driver training to enable Class 50 operation over most of the UK rail network. The company has also operated several railtours using 50007 and 50049, including The Caledonian in October 2017, returning class 50s to Glasgow for their 50th anniversary.
The repaints will be carried out by Arlington Fleet Services at Eastleigh. GBRf will fund the repainting and also manage the movement of the locomotives to and from Eastleigh.
The first outing for the GBRf-liveried Class 50s will be on Saturday 23rd March when they will work Pathfinder Tours’ Teminator-Phoenixed railtour from London Paddington to Penzance and return to Waterloo. This train will mark 25th years since the final BR operated Class 50 railtour over the same route, The Terminator, which was also promoted by Pathfinder.
John Smith, Managing Director of GB Railfreight, said: “I am delighted that GBRf is sponsoring the repainting of 50007, Hercules and 50049, Defiance, into GBRf livery. Our relationship with the Class 50 Alliance has grown over the years, with the painting of the two locomotives being an excellent way to recognise the fact. Having first witnessed class 50s at Crewe in the early 1970s, I never thought the day would arise when one would be painted in the livery of a company that I’m involved with. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the finished article.”
Jonathan Dunster, Director Class 50 Alliance said: “Today’s announcement marks a significant next step in the story of the Class 50s, and we’re delighted to build on our already successful relationship with GBRf.
“Since we successfully returned Class 50s to the mainline in 1997, we have gained a great deal of experience, working with many stakeholders across the industry. We have operated around 80 railtours, supplied power for timetabled service trains in South Wales and operated numerous freight and route learning duties. For GBRf to cement our relationship in this way is fantastic news and we look forward to working with the team on an exciting future programme which kicks off in style when we head to Penzance on 23rd March.”
Following the repaints, the locomotives will be available to operate selected GBRf trains on a ‘spot-hire’ basis. This work will include movement of locomotives between heritage railway gala events, and future railtours. The locomotives will continue to be based at the Severn Valley Railway, but will have easy access to the national network, thanks to the 24-hour connection at Kidderminster.
50007 and 50049 will be unveiled in their new livery at a private event at Eastleigh Works, prior to working a test run and then the railtour on 23rd March.
Representatives from The Fifty Fund / Class 50 Alliance have been in discussions with Bob Meanley / Tyseley Loco Works for some time concerning the possibility of coming to an agreement that would enable 50033 to run again, with our involvement.
That the Fund have been given this opportunity after many years of uncertainty for 50033 speaks volumes for the high regard in which we are held within preservation circles.Work on the locomotive will continue at Tyseley for the time being under the expert guidance of Tony Middleton so please do let him know if you can assist in any way. At some point later this year 50033 will move to the SVR in readiness for the 50 event.
Join us for a double-headed Class 50 tour over the Settle & Carlisle and Cumbrian Coast Lines.CONTINUING the celebrations to mark 50 years of the Class 50s, Rail Express has teamed up with Pathfinder Tours, Riviera Trains, GB Railfreight and the Class 50 Alliance to run a charter from Birmingham to Carlisle on April 14, 2018. The outbound trip will be via Wigan, Blackburn and the Settle & Carlisle Line, with the return via the Cumbrian Coast Line and Barrow.
The tour is shaping up to be one of the most sought-after charity railtours of 2018, retracing the diversionary route used by Class 50s during their West Coast Main Line days in the late 1960s and early 1970s before taking the locos on a very rare outing around the coastal edge of the Lake District – a route they never regularly used in BR days.
The two locos are expected to be Nos. 50007 and 50049 hauling a 13-coach train comprising Standard, First Class Plus and Premier Dining seats. The train will depart Birmingham International around 06.00 and pick up at Birmingham New Street, Wolverhampton, Stafford, Crewe, Warrington Bank Quay and Wigan North Western. It will then travel via Blackburn to a planned photostop at Hellifield, before tackling the famous gradients of the S&C and arriving in Carlisle just after midday.
After a break of a couple of hours to service the stock, the ‘50s’ will head south along the Cumbrian Coast with planned photostops at Workington and Barrow. The tour will join the WCML at Carnforth and then set down as outward to arrive back at Birmingham International before 23.00.
Big news! The home of our fleet for many years, the SVR have announced a 50th Anniversary Class 50 Gala for 2018. The event will run from October 4th to 6th, and will feature both the home fleet of 50's and a number of visiting locos. The aim is to have no less than 10 working class members at the event, so be sure to put it in your diary early.
See you there!