The Class 50 Alliance (C50A) has completed the acquisition of diesel electric locomotive 50007 Hercules, from Neil Boden, for mainline contract work.
The locomotive, currently based at Washwood Heath, Birmingham, will soon join the C50A’s fleet and was selected due to its overall condition and suitability for future mainline work. Commenting on the purchase, Jonathan Dunster, Chairman of the C50A said: “We are delighted to add 50007 to our fleet and look forward to beginning our next chapter of mainline operation in the coming months”.
“The purchase has only been possible thanks to the tremendous generosity of Phil Swallow and a small number of our existing shareholders, who have kindly provided the finance necessary to secure 50007. The C50A has to repay this loan over the next two years, and we’re now embarking on a major fund raising campaign to encourage shareholders old and new to become part-owners in not only Hercules, but the rest of the fleet.
“We mustn’t underestimate the scale of the fund raising task ahead, and I urge anyone with an interest in Class 50s to consider making an investment, however large or small. Only with the support of our members, can we continue to keep the Class 50s in action, and secure the future of our fleet,” he added.
Before entering service, 50007 will undergo a thorough technical inspection and both its main and train heat generator will be overhauled.
The locomotive will then take up crew training with an as yet unnamed Train Operator, before beginning a period of contracted mainline work. However, it is also expected to be available for occasional use on the heritage railway circuit, and potentially also some railtours. Details of the mainline operations will be subject to a further announcement.
Jonathan Dunster added: “Hercules has been acquired primarily for mainline work, and this will help fund its ongoing maintenance, and significantly contribute to the upkeep of the rest of our locos and the turnover and profitability of the Alliance. Our 100 mph ETH fitted locomotives are useful assets suited to a range of duties, and we look forward to having 50007 available, alongside our other two mainline registered locos 50044 and 50049 in the months ahead. “We would like to thank Neil (Boden) and his team for their cooperation with the sale, and of course for their great work in returning this fine locomotive to the mainline in recent years.”
The locomotive is expected to play a key part in a programme of events currently under consideration to mark the 50th anniversary of the Class 50s, beginning next year.
Joe Burr, Chairman of the Fifty Fund, support group for the C50A fleet added: “We’re currently in discussions with a number of stakeholders about an exciting programme of events to mark 50 years since the introduction of this iconic class of locomotive. We want to put together a coordinated programme to celebrate 50 years of the 50s, and we expect it will involve a sensible number of mainline railtours, events at heritage railways and a number of interesting merchandising opportunities.
“A working group has been established and we will be contacting other locomotive owners shortly about getting involved. We expect to reveal more details early next year, for a programme spread out between October 2017 and November 2018 – the period marking the anniversaries of the introduction of the first locomotive D400, and our own D449 – the last express passenger diesel locomotive to be built in Britain.”
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