GB Railfreight is ordering 30 Class 99 bi-mode locomotives from Stadler, funded by Beacon Rail to replace Class 66s. The first is expected to enter service in 2025.
The Co-Co locomotives will have a maximum speed of 75mph and are powered by 25kV overhead catenary or a Stage V low emission diesel engine for non-electrified routes. Stadler says they will have a maximum tractive effort of up to 500kN: the equivalent figure for a Class 66 diesel is 409kN. Under electric operation, the locomotives offer power at rail of 6,000kW.
The design is based on Stadler’s successful Eurodual six-axle locomotives used in Europe, adapted to the UK loading gauge and specifications. GBRf says it expects the fleet to reduce its carbon footprint by 428 tonnes per working day on intermodal services using partially electrified routes.
Stadler has already supplied Direct Rail Services with bi-mode Class 88s, and is building 30 tri-mode Class 93 diesel/electric/battery locomotives for Rail Operations Group.
GBRf Chief Executive John Smith said: ‘Today’s announcement is an important milestone for GB Railfreight and the UK, and I want to thank the teams at Stadler and Beacon Rail for their collaboration in producing a train fit for a greener future. Rail freight is already a more sustainable alternative to moving goods by road, but the Class 99 will increase our industry’s levels of sustainability and propel us further towards meeting the UK government’s task to decarbonise the rail industry by 2040 in support of the UK’s net zero ambitions.’
Beacon Rail Chief Executive Adam Cunliffe added: ‘Beacon is proud to introduce the Class 99 to the market; this is the result of a collaborative approach with our long-standing customer GB Railfreight and manufacturer Stadler. The Class 99 order underlines Beacon’s drive to support the UK’s journey towards a greener and more efficient rail network. We look forward to supporting the delivery programme for these locomotives ahead of introduction to service in 2025, providing further momentum to facilitate modal shift from road to rail.’