Rail Portfolios: Classes 56 and 58

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9780711030961: Rail Portfolios: Classes 56 and 58
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As a result of the oil crisis in the early 1970s, it became apparent that, at that stage, the future of Britain's energy requirements would be met from the country's vast reserves of coal. Rail was by far the most efficient means of moving the large quantities of coal needed by the nation's coal-fired power stations but BR lacked powerful locomotives to handle the rapidly developing Merry-go-Round network. The result was the construction between 1976 and 1987 of 185 freight locomotives, Classes 56 and 58. The first 30 of the Class 56s were constructed, unusually, in Romania but the rest were built either at Crewe or Doncaster and, in 1987, when the final Class 58 emerged - No 58050 - history was made. Although not appreciated at the time, this locomotive would be the last built in a BR-owned workshop. The types found ready work for a decade, but the 'dash to gas' that resulted in the closure of many of Britain's collieries along with the introduction of more modern classes has seen the Class 58s all withdrawn and vast inroads made into the Class 56s. A number, however, have been exported for use on construction work in Europe. It is now more than 15 years since the first edition of Rail Portfolios 11: The 56s and 58s was published. In that period much has occurred in the careers of both classes. When the book was first published, for example, Sectorisation was just starting to impact and Privatisation was not even a pipe-dream for John Major. Based around a reprint of the original book but expanded by the incorporation of a new 16pp section, this second edition of the book brings the story of both classes up to date. Drawn from the collections of many of the country's foremost contemporary railway photographers, the book provides the reader with a pictorial record to the careers of the last types of diesel locomotive constructed by British Rail. As both classes disappear from the scene, so interest in them will increase, thus making this expanded reprint all the more opportune. It will be sought after by all those who have an interest in modern traction and in the contemporary railway scene.

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About the Author:

A teacher by profession, Paul Shannon lives and works in Cheshire. One of the country's foremost photographers of the contemporary railway scene, his work appears regularly in books and magazines. He has contributed a number of books over the years to the Ian Allan Publishing list.

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