The Class 57 diesel locomotive was an outgrowth of the tremendously successful and iconic Class 47. Rebuilt from redundant Class 47s by Brush Traction at Loughborough between 1998 and 2003, the 33 resulting Class 57s are themselves divided into three sub-classes for differing purposes. Twelve are Class 57/0 for Freightliner to haul intermodal trains; 16 are ‘Thunderbirds’, commissioned by Virgin Trains to rescue failed Class 390 electric units on the West Coast Main Line; and five are dedicated to passenger use on Great Western Railway’s ‘Night Riviera’ sleeper service.
Featuring an EMD V12 two-stroke diesel engine and other modifications, the conversions represented a considerable cost saving over that of building completely new locomotives. Known irreverently as ‘bodysnatchers’, the Class 57s have filled a gap in available traction for the last two decades and the fleet is intact today, continuing to see use with various TOCs and have a future ensured by overhaul. All 33 locos are depicted in this volume, with over 200 images, showing the Class 57s in a variety of duties over the last 20 years.