British Rail Class 56

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British Rail Class 56
56006 at Doncaster Works.JPG
Electroputere-built 56006 at Doncaster in 2003 painted in rail blue livery
Type and origin
Power typeDiesel-electric
BuilderElectroputere (56001–56030)
BREL (56031–56135)
Build date1976–1984
Total produced135
 • WhyteCo-Co
 • UICCo'Co'
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Length63 ft 6 in (19.35 m)
Width9 ft 2 in (2.79 m)
Height12 ft 9 in (3.89 m)
Loco weight123 long tons (125 t)
Fuel capacity1,150 imp gal (5,200 l; 1,380 US gal)
Prime moverRuston-Paxman 16RK3CT
MU working Red Diamond
Train heatingNone
Train brakesAir
Performance figures
Top speed80 mph (129 km/h)
Power outputEngine: 3,250 bhp (2,424 kW)
Tractive effortMaximum: 61,800 lbf (275 kN)
Brakeforce59 long tons-force (588 kN)
Railroad(s)British Rail
Axle load classRoute availability 7

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 3,250bhp (2,423kW), 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were built by Electroputere in Romania, but these suffered from poor construction standards, and many were withdrawn from service early.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 "Grids", likely due to the grid-like horn cover on the locomotive's cab ends. The 'Grid' name was given due to the fact that class 56 locomotives were the main motive power used on merry-go-round coal deliveries to national grid power stations.