Class 59 heavy-freight diesel history

More than three decades ago a small fleet of Class 59 diesel locomotives arrived in this country, and immediately proved themselves far superior to anything that we already had on our railways, starting a revolution that would, in time, see hundreds of similar locomotives brought to our shores, as EVAN GREEN-HUGHES explains.

One of the more positive results of the various schemes to attract extra traffic to the railways has been the continual rise in mineral and aggregate traffic, mainly fuelled by the requirements of the ever-expanding construction industry. In the 1980s a large volume of this traffic came from the Mendips in Somerset in heavily-loaded block trains, most being destined for London and originating from quarries owned by Foster Yeoman.

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