[UK] Class66 locomotive that were always more British than European


Very recently, Railcolor News covered the story of the liveries on “ex-continental” Class66 locomotives now operated by GB Railfreight. The research required for that article brought more interesting stories to light – and nice images.  

The most recent “re-locations” of class 66 diesel locomotives to the UK were not the first. It already happened back in 2012, when three grey-painted machines, envisaged for Crossrail Belgium but never used, came to Butterley from Rotterdam. They started their career with GBRf in their original grey paint, combined with simple orange GBRf logos and orange road numbers.

From there, each locomotive went a different way:

  • 66747 grey+orange logos > Getlink GBRf livery > Newell & Wright Transport (NWT) livery;
  • 66748 grey+orange logos > Getlink GBRf livery > GBRf design; orange/yellow/blue with “Safer, think before you act”-stickers;
  • 66749 grey+orange logos > Getlink GBRf livery;

66747 got this Newell & Wright Transport (NWT) livery in 2019 – it got the name “Made in Sheffield”:

BRLL / GBRf 66747 at Arcow Quarry on 22.06.2022 © Kevin Delaney

In 2013, another two followed, which originally owned by HSBC Rail and used by ERS Railways from the Netherlands. After five years of ERS-duty they were sold to Beacon Rail, which repainted them in Beacon “blue and gold” and used by other operators on the continent.

  • 66750 Beaon Rail livery + orange GBRf logos > Getlink GBRf livery
  • 66751 Becaon Rail livery + orange GBRf logos > Getlink GBRf livery

After several years in the UK, both machines got the Getlink-version of the GBRf standard design in orange and blue:

Beacon Rail > GBRf 66751 © GB Railfreight