British Rail Class 56

Ranked #134 on the list Best Locomotive class of All Time

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About British Rail Class 56

  • Locomotives of this class:
  • Parent class:
  • Built by: BREL

The British Rail Class 56 is a type of diesel locomotive designed for heavy freight work. It is a Type 5 locomotive, with a Ruston-Paxman power unit developing 3,250 bhp (2,423 kW), and has a Co-Co wheel arrangement. The fleet was introduced between 1976 and 1983. The first thirty locomotives (Nos.56001-56030) were built by Electroputere in Romania, but these suffered from poor construction standards and many were withdrawn from service early. The remaining 105 locomotives were built by BREL at Doncaster Works (nos. 56031 to 56115) and Crewe Works (Nos.56116 to 56135). Enthusiasts nicknamed them "Gridirons" (or "Grids" for short), due to the grid-like horn cover on the locomotive's cab ends fitted to nos. 56 056 on. When introduced, Class 56s were arguably the first of the "second generation" of UK diesel locomotives. The engine is a direct descendent of English Electric CSVT types, its closest relative being the 16CSVT used in the Class 50. Technical advances included significantly uprated turbochargers, gear driven camshafts in place of the timing chain used on Class 50s, and uprated cylinder heads, fuel pumps and injectors. The engine was nominally rated at 3,520 hp (2,620 kW),

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