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Class 57s (Paperback)

Transport > Trains & Railways

By Mark Pike
Imprint: Key Publishing
Series: Britain's Railways
Pages: 96
Illustrations: Over 200
ISBN: 9781802826777
Published: 25th August 2023



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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.

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About Mark Pike

Mark Pike has a lifelong interest in UK railways that started at the age of about six when his father used to take him to watch trains at Poole station in Dorset, just after steam had been abolished in the late 1960s. He later joined the railway at the age of 19 as a permanent way trackman at Bournemouth and was later an electric track maintenance worker at Dorchester for over 20 years. Now semi-retired, he is still an avid railway photographer, with various images appearing regularly in mainstream railway magazines and books.

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