News – 14/02/11

Class 56 Group Announcement – Press Release regarding 56040 and 56301
This press release has been sent out to every railway magazine and railway news website, to keep you all informed of recent developments relating to the Class 56 Group’s preservation activities.

As previously reported to our members via “Gridiron” (the Class 56 Group magazine), the committee had considered disposing of 56040 to raise funds, when the opportunity arose to obtain another Class 56 locomotive in far better mechanical and electrical condition, from the recent DB Schenker tender list. The Group did bid on 56117, 56007 and 56038 in that order, but all were subsequently withdrawn from sale by DB Schenker for reasons unknown.

This decision to obtain a replacement Class 56, was brought about by the fact that 56040 requires a body lift to replace two defective traction motors and needs substantial and costly repairs to the roof and bodysides to arrest years of corrosion damage. With the collapse of the possible DB Schenker purchase, the Group was looking again to continue this work, but only as funds allowed.

However, a few weeks back, a real “once in a life time” opportunity was presented to the Group, namely the chance to buy a recently fully overhauled Class 56. This was an opportunity that the Group’s committee felt we could not afford to pass up.

Therefore, we are delighted to report that Class 56 Locomotives Limited has purchased 56301 from the administrators in charge of the liquidation of the assets belonging to Fastline Ltd.

56301 (formerly 56045 “British Steel Shelton”) was previously owned by Fastline Ltd, a subsidiary of the railway maintenance contractor Jarvis, and was overhauled for them by Brush Traction Ltd at Loughborough in late 2005 / early 2006. It was then used alongside a second locomotive in their ownership, 56302 (ex-56124), and RVEL owned 56303 (ex-56125) on the Fastline container trains which ran between Doncaster, Grain, Birch Coppice and Trafford Park, until 56301 along with 56302, was stored in March 2010 after Fastline Ltd ceased trading due to the financial collapse of Jarvis.

In addition, Class 56 Group committee member and well-known preservationist, Edward Stevenson, has also privately purchased 56302 from the same administrators.

A plan of action is still being finalised as this letter is typed, but both 56301 and 56302 have been inspected by the Class 56 Group and were found to be in excellent condition, having been initially stored undercover at Roberts Road Depot in Doncaster, and latterly inside the PW shed at Hitchin. It is hoped that 56301 will replace 56101 at the Class 56 Group’s base at Dereham on the Mid Norfolk Railway, with 56101 then probably returning to Barrow Hill for cooler group repairs which have proved difficult to carry out at Dereham.

The Committee of the Class 56 Group and the Board of Class 56 Locomotives Limited wish to emphasise that no other plans exist at the present time for any other use or movement of 56301, and that any reports to the contrary, unless confirmed by the committee or Board first, are groundless.

Interestingly, 56302 (as 56124) was originally offered to the Class 56 Group ten years ago while owned by HNRC, but stored at Knottingley. Both 56045 and 56124 were later purchased by Edward Stevenson, who subsequently sold them onto Jarvis for further mainline use.

The decision to acquire 56301 was also influenced by the large amount of money required to carry out all the repairs necessary to make 56040 fit for service, which compared unfavourably with the costs needed to maintain 56301, which is in vastly better condition.

Securing 56301 for preservation comes with a significant cost attached, both financially and emotionally. Therefore, the committee of the Class 56 Group have to inform you that, unfortunately, 56040 is now being stripped of all re-useable parts and sold for scrap, to supply the bulk of the funds needed to pay for 56301.

The committee deeply regrets that 56301 could not be purchased without the sacrifice of 56040, but fund-raising efforts over the last six months have failed to secure anything like the cash needed to keep both locomotives. The Group was in need of a sum of money that was significantly greater than that which 56040 was originally bought for, and this financial outlay was simply not available anywhere else. The speed in which it has become necessary to dispose of 56040, in order to release sufficient funds to conclude the purchase of 56301, was dictated by a deadline set by the administrators. This means that it is likely by the time you read this letter, 56040 will be very close to making her final journey to the scrap-man (this is likely to take place on Thursday 17th February ~ please go to www.class56group.co.uk for updated information).

After much emotional debate and frank discussions, the Class 56 Group committee voted in favour to proceed with the purchase of 56301, at the expense of having to dispose of 56040. While we recognise that some Class 56 Group members and Class 56 Locomotives Limited shareholders may find this decision upsetting, we hope that they can all see why the committee made this decision, and that ultimately it will be the right one to have made. Overall, it was a unique and one-off opportunity which ties in with the Group’s long term constitution to further the future of the Class 56 in general and we feel that this purchase fully aligns with this aim, and guarantees that a Class 56 locomotive will, hopefully, be operational for many more years to come.

For reasons of commercial sensitivity, neither the Class 56 Group Committee nor the Class 56 Locomotives Limited Board were able to make any public announcement until the purchase had been agreed with the administrators, just in case any other potentially interested parties got wind of the sale and attempted to gazump us. This is why no announcement has been made before now. We would, therefore, like to offer our apologies to anyone who has approached either members of the Committee or the Board in recent weeks, and who may now feel slightly misled by the answers they received at the time. Unfortunately, to have publicised what was going on at the time could have potentially scuppered the deal and, therefore, would have not been in the best interests of the Class 56 Group or Class 56 Locomotives Limited.

56040 “Oystermouth” has served the Class 56 Group fairly well over the last few years, and has helped us to further Class 56 preservation. The loco will be fondly remembered by the Group and the many individuals who have worked over the years to return ‘040 to service, since her purchase from Immingham in 2005.

However, let us not forget that 56040 will yield many spare parts, which will help towards the long term preservation prospects of both 56301 and 56101.

56040 being stripped for spares at Barrow Hill 13/02/11 Photo courtesy Bill Pizer

56040 being stripped for spares at Barrow Hill 13/02/11 Photo courtesy Bill Pizer

45149
Cab refurbishment work continues on 45149 at Toddington.  Further details can be found on the Group’s website

Overhauled AWS Photo courtesy Michael Pember

Overhauled AWS Photo courtesy Michael Pember

New 2nd man's desk made by group along with ident plates, horn stem & refurbished ETH controls Photo courtesy Michael Pember

New 2nd man's desk made by group along with ident plates, horn stem & refurbished ETH controls Photo courtesy Michael Pember

47484

47484 at Goodman's Yard near Sutton Coldfield 03/02/11 Photo courtesy Bill Pizer

47484 at Goodman's Yard near Sutton Coldfield 03/02/11 Photo courtesy Bill Pizer

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Posted February 14, 2011 by presgen in PD News 2011, Preserved Diesels News