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 type Diesel-electric
Builder Electroputere (56001–56030)
BREL (56031–56135)
Build date 1976–1984
Total produced 135
Specifications
Configuration:
 • Whyte Co-Co
 • UIC Co'Co'
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Length 63 ft 6 in (19.35 m)
Width 9 ft 2 in (2.79 m)
Height 12 ft 9 in (3.89 m)
Loco weight 123 long tons (125 t)
Fuel capacity 1,150 imp gal (5,200 l; 1,380 US gal)
Prime mover Ruston-Paxman 16RK3CT
MU working Red Diamond
Train heating None
Train brakes Air
Performance figures
Top speed 80 mph (129 km/h)
Power output Engine: 3,250 bhp (2,424 kW)
Tractive effort Maximum: 61,800 lbf (275 kN)
Brakeforce 59 long tons-force (588 kN)
Career
Railroad(s) British Rail
EWS
Fastline
Number 56001–56135
Axle load class Route 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were built by Electroputere in Romania, but these suffered from poor construction standards, and many were withdrawn from service early.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.