UK Rail Leasing’s in-demand ‘56s’ set for overhauls

Thirteen of the 15 Class 56s owned by UK Rail Leasing are likely to be overhauled, with the company revealing to RAIL that there is a demand for the locomotives.

UKRL is owned by Ed Stevenson and Mark Winter. Together they have been acquiring Class 56s from various companies, with long-withdrawn 56009 the latest purchase from CF Booths at Rotherham.

This, along with 56077, is unlikely to return to traffic, although the rest (56007/018/031/032/037/038/060/065/069/081/098, 56104/106) are expected to do so after their overhauls.

Five of the locomotives (56007/031/069/081, 56106) have been moved from Nemesis Rail’s Burton workshops to Leicester depot. UKRL leases the depot there from DB Schenker, and has a three-year deal for the facility.

The depot has recently been refurbished with new equipment, including lifting jacks installed, while the roof has also been raised. Winter told RAIL that the depot is a perfect base for the company because of its location and rail connections.

He would not be drawn on the companies with which UKRL has lined up deals, but said that the company’s plans for reactivating the ‘56s’ had to be speeded up due to demand.

UKRL’s 56018 and 56060 remain at Washwood Heath, where they are to be prepared for use with Devon & Cornwall Railways. Rumours that UKRL wanted to buy DCR’s fleet of Class 56s (56091, 56103/128, 56303/311/312) were denied by Winter - he admitted the possibility had been investigated more than a year ago, but nothing had come of it.

UKRL has plans for its ‘56s’ to be overhauled by companies including Boden Rail Engineering, before they are then loadbanked and passed for main line use at Harry Needle Railroad Company’s Barrow Hill facility. Already at HNRC’s workshops is 56098, which has been off the main line since 2000, and was previously preserved.

Of the others, 56009/037/077 are at the Battlefield Line, 56032 and 56104 are at Washwood Heath, and 56038/065 remain at Burton.

  • This news article was originally published in RAIL 739 on 8 January 2014

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