Class 56

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Class 56 locomotives were commonplace on freight trains in Scotland in the 1990s.
After several years of absence, they reappeared on oil trains in 2013.


56123 in coal sector livery stables at Ayr in 1994. Photo: Donald Stirling


The class was primarily deployed on Merry-go-round coal trains to Longannet, Cockenzie, and other power stations in Yorkshire.

The 56s were also used on Enterprise trains to Aberdeen, and occasionally Inverness.

Thread:Aberdeen Class 56 workings.

The last Class 56 to Aberdeen was 56018, it worked north on Sat 12th April 2003 with loaded lime wagons, stabled in Aberdeen over the weekend and worked south with the lime wagons on on Monday April 14th.

The use of the class in Scotland declined from the end of 1999 as EWS class 66 locomotives became more wide spread.

Thread:Last class 56 working before 2013

EWS withdrew its last class 56 locos in March 2004.



56037 and another EWS 56 roar north through Larbert with the morning Millerhill - Aberdeen. Photo: Locoman419


Previous Operators

Fastline acquired three class 56s and one of these, 56302, visited Shettleston on 29th August 2006. This loco was later was purchased by Colas Rail following Fastline going into administration in 2010 (see below).

Devon and Cornwall Railway (DCR) operated a handful of Class 56 locos which have occasionally visited Scotland on rolling stock moves or route learning duties in the past. (56301, 56312). 56301 is now owned by the Class 56 Group and is available for spot hire, while 56312 has since been sold to GBRF for potential re-engineering into a Class 69 locomotive.

Colas Rail

Colas Rail 56105 approaching Lochwinnoch on the 6N47 empties from Prestwick to Grangemouth (20/08/13) Photo by maynard


In 2013 Colas Rail acquired a number of class 56s and have been returning them to service. From August 2013 they replaced Class 66 locos on the Aviation fuel trains from Grangemouth to Prestwick, Linkswood and Sinfin (near Derby). Linkswood no longer receives traffic.

As of 2018, despite a sufficient surplus of Class 70 locos moving to Scotland to make their stay as Colas' locos on freight traffic and the subsequent selling of their Class 60s to GBRF, Colas still use Class 56 locos for the Prestwick Aiport (Monkton Sidings) aviation fuel flow:

HeadcodeRouteRuns onNotes
6R460632 Grangemouth - PrestwickTThFO
6N471651 Prestwick - GrangemouthTFO
6N471327 Prestwick - GrangemouthTThFO Alternate Path (Q)


These workings commonly run Tuesdays and/or Thursdays; additionals may run when required. It's worth noting that Class 70s may also appear on these workings.


In addition to the Prestwick flow, a monthly Grangemouth/Sinfin diagram runs, which serves also as a means of rotating Class 56 locos based at Nottingham Eastcroft CMD (again, when required). This departs on a Sunday evening from GM (between 1700-1900) loaded, and the empties return by Tuesday in the early AM:

HeadcodeRouteRuns onNotes
6M80Grangemouth - SinfinSu
6S95Sinfin - GrangemouthMO


Both of these workings are pathed as 'STP' schedules close to the time of their running, so timings may vary.

Colas' fleet of active Class 56s are all allocated to the "COFS" pool:
56049, 56078, 56087, 56090, 56094, 56096, 56105, 56113, 56302.




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