Preface | Technical | Operational | Historical
The 30 Class 67s were, before the arrival of the Class 68, the only 'modern' diesels with the necessary electrical train supply equipment to work passenger trains.
Class 67 is a Bo-Bo diesel-electric locomotive with a General Motors / Electro Motive Diesel 12N-710G3B-EC twelve-cylinder (V12) turbocharged 2-stroke engine with a rated power of 3200 HP (nominally 2.5 MW) at 900 rpm driving a GM alternator which powers four GM traction motors, one per axle, and also supplied up to 300 hp for train heating and air-conditioning as required.
As delivered, their maximum speed is 125 mph (200 km/h), although they seldom, if ever, run at this speed. Owned by Angel Trains, all 30 were initally leased to DB Cargo (formerly English, Welsh and Scottish Railway), but now they are owned. The diesel engine is the same as that of the Class 66 freight locomotives in the DB fleet.
Some other data: Length 19.71 m,Width 2.71 m; Height 3.93 m Weight 90 tonnes; Route Availability 8.
As built, 67s were fitted with cables to allow two locos coupled together to be driven by one driver (multiple working) but the type of wiring as built was not compatible with that provided in normal passenger coaches, or the Driving Van Trailers (DVTs) originally built for 'push-pull' working on InterCity services. Modifications have been made to allow Arriva / Transport for Wales and Chiltern to to make use of 'push-pull operation with ex-Virgin Trains driving van trailers, and modified again from 2021 to work in with ex-LNER Mk4 stock; the fleet of these has been increased by the purchase of vehicles which were intended by the Grand Central company for use on a London-Blackpool service, which also required modification.
TfW workings in 2023
Initially the enhanced fleet was used to run extra loco-hauled trains in addition to the single 'Gerald of Wales' service in the morning from Holyhead to Cardiff and return in the evening. However, from January 2023 the Coast reverted to its original frequency and the 67/Mk4 sets were allocated to South Wales - Manchester axis. For a period the promised locos did not always appear, replaced by in adequate two-coach diesel railcars, even class 150s. The loco-worked sets used on Manchester service are, where possible, run with the locomotive at the south end of the train, to minimse the noise and emissions when at the buffers at Manchester Piccadilly.
By July 2023 there are still problems, but most days they follow the alloted diagram as below (Mon-Fri):
04:54 Crewe to Cardiff Central
08:49 Cardiff Central-Manchestet Pic
12:30 Manchester Pic-Cardiff Central
16:49 Cardiff Central-Manchester Pic
Ecs to Crewe
Ecs to Manchester
06:27 Manchester Pic to Cardiff Central
12:49 Cardiff Central Manchester Pic
16:30 Manchester Pic to Swansea
Ecs to Canton
04:35 Cardiff Central- Manchester Picc
08:30 Manchester Pic-Cardiff Central
17:14 Cardiff Central-Holyhead
05:33 Holyhead-Cardiff Central
10:52 Cardiff Central-Manchester Pic
14:30 Manchester Pic- Cardiff Central
18:55 Cardiff Central-Manchester Pic
Ecs to Crewe
Class 67s have been used over the years on a wide variety of trains, including:
Charter trains run by the EWS/Riviera alliance, the 'Northern Belle' services of the Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express organisation, and other charters worked by EWS/DB Cargo.The appearance on the scene of the new Class 68 locos, along with franchise changes, have severely reduced the workload of the Class 67s. Their only regular passenger by 2018 were for Arriva Trains Wales and succesor Transport for Wales, with two Monday - Friday diagrams: one for the 'premier express' from Holyhead to Cardiff and back, and one which works trains between Crewe / Manchester and North Wales. The 'Covid' crisis saw the loco-hauled trains suspended and the Mk3 vehicles sent to storage.
Once some normality returned, ex-LNER Mk4 coaches replaced the Mk3s on this service, and additional loco-hauled workings.
Two locos, 67 023 and 67 027 have been sold to Colas, who now provide power for most Network Rail trains, and are used when 100 mph running is needed.
Three four-coach sets plus driving van trailer were acquired, for the two proposed diagrams, later ; loco-haulage to Manchester from North Wales will not return, in favour of the South Wales - Manchester service. The Class 67s require fitting with additional cabling for the push-pull workings which use a different system from the Mk3s for control from the driving trailer.
The Royal Train still has its two locos, which appear on railtours and other charters at times.
67 004 was given Caledonian Sleeper livery and named Cairn Gorm for use by the new franchise, but GB Railfreight now provide power for these trains and it has been de-named and given DB Cargo livery.
67 021 and 67 024 were given a Pullman (brown and cream) livery in 2017 for use on the Belmond British Pullman luxury train.
Names have been applied to Class 67s at various times for various reasons, starting with a few postal-related ones (004, 005) from the days when they were on their intended mail trains. It was said that the locomotive width was such that the normal type of nameplate would make them too wide, and special 'thin' ones were fitted at the cab ends, although there may also have been concern about the fitting of plates to the corrugated sides of the 67. The two Royal engines, which took over from 47 798 and 799, were given suitably Royal names (from ye olde stagecoaches?).
67 010 Unicorn was named in 2001 at Bristol Barton Hill depot after the depot's logo, but the name was removed in 2009 on repainting into W&S livery. Others, sometimes celebrating various events and partnerships have gained names revived from Britannia class steam locomotives with the equivalent numbers, e.g. 67 027 Rising Star was previously steam loco 70027. 67 018 became Rapid, which is a warship name - perhaps Flying Dutchman, the name of 70018, was not approved of. In early 2010 67 018 was repainted in DB (or is it Canadian National?) red livery and re-named Keith Heller on the retirement of Mr Heller as chief executive of EWS/DB Schenker.
The naming of 67 029 as Royal Diamond at Rugeley Trent Valley station on Friday 12 October 2007 commemorated the diamond wedding anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. At this stage, the idea of non-standard nameplates was forgotten, and a nameplate in the usual locomotive position was provided, and this policy was followed again when 67 015 was named David J.Lloyd at Gobowen on 16 May 2008. By July 2008 the other three original W&S-liveried locos had also received names, from of a competition organised among primary schools in Wrexham and Shropshire. Sadly, the Wrexham & Shropshire operation was closed down in April 2011, and the locos and rolling stock found further use with Chiltern Railways. The locomotives lost their W&S branding, but retained their silver livery, but have been displaced by Class 68s from Chiltern, and are gradually being repainted in DB livery.
March 2012 saw 67 026 given a silver livery to haul the Royal Train during the Diamond Anniversary of the Queen's reign.
The origin of the Class 67 fleet lies in the takeover in 1996 of the Rail express systems (Res) sector of British Rail by US company Wisconsin Central, who merged it into EWS. Res principally operated trains for Royal Mail, and it was thought that a high-speed locomotive was required for the faster operation of such trains in the future.
The Class 66 design, with its three-axle bogies, was unsuitable, and a new locomotive type was created, sharing the engine and other components of the 66 but with a european-style body, to be built at Alstom's factory in Valencia, Spain (since bought by Vossloh) and bearing a family resemblance to the GM-engined JT42BW 'Prima' series locos being built at the same works at the time of the order. Their shape, which is said to resemble the eponymous item, has led to their nickname of 'skips' in some railfan quarters; nobody could call them beautiful, but at least they do have something of the classic British loco about them, and there's no doubt that their workings are interesting.
The locos were delivered from 1999, and worked on the mail trains as intended. Unfortunately, in 2003 EWS lost their contract with Royal Mail, and ran their last mail trains in early 2004. Since then, EWS have been doing their best to find uses for them, with some degree of success, although their high axle-loading is a problem. For example, they are not allowed on the Cambrian Coast line north of Machynlleth.
No more 67s will be built, although at one time it was apparently planned so build a fleet of single-cab versions for Virgin Cross Country, which would have worked 5-coach push-pull trains. For some reason, this plan was cancelled and replaced by a larger order for 'Voyager' diesel railcars.
Compiled by Charlie Hulme. Comments welcome.
TfW Class 67s