Class 58 History | EWS


After a period of just two years in preparation for privatisation, the freight sector of Britain’s railways was almost re-nationalised in a staggering ‘buy out’ by a American-based railroad company.

The first stage of the take-over occurred at 0500 on Saturday December 9 1995 when it was announced that Rail express systems had been sold to a US consortium, led by Wisconsin Central for £25.7 million. Included in the sale were 164 locomotives (see panel below), 677 vans and four depots at Crewe, Bristol Barton Hill, Cambridge and Euston ‘Downside’ (London) as well as the 800-strong staff.

The trading name that would be used in the UK to take over running of the Res business became known as ‘North & South Railways Limited’. Wisconsin Central/North & South Railways Limited also confirmed that it was bidding for all three of the former BR trainload freight companies (Transrail, Mainline and Loadhaul).

The government had hoped to sell the three trainload freight companies as separate businesses to encourage competition. Few bidders were interested in individual companies because of the ‘threat’ of competition from the other two, but the outright purchase of all three was an attractive proposition.

By the end of December 1995, there were just two bidders still in the running for these three trainload companies. Wisconsin Central was one and the other was FirstFreight (Loadhaul’s management backed by Denver-based rail-haulier OmniTRAX).

During early 1996 it was announced that Wisconsin Central/ North & South Railways were the preferred bidders and so during the early hours of February 24, 1996, the signing took place. Later that day, the formal handover of Transrail, Mainline and Loadhaul took place at a ceremony on London’s Marylebone station, where the three businesses were officially handed over from British Rail to Wisconsin Central President, Ed Burkhardt, by BRB chairman John Welsby.

An amazing £225.15 million was paid for the three trainload freight businesses (which carried 88.7 million tonnes of freight the previous year with a turnover of £559 million). Some critics said that the figure paid was less than the 10% of their replacement value, which was estimated at an astonishing £3 billion, as they were the only profitable national freight businesses in Europe.

On the same day (which saw the three businesses provide a locomotive for the photocall: Transrail’s 60055 Thomas Barnardo, Mainline’s 58050 Toton Traction Depot and Loadhaul’s 56102), Ed Burkhardt announced several plans for the next two years:

  • Order 250 brand new heavy freight locomotives

  • Condemn most of the Class 37s and ‘ageing and unreliable’ Class 47s

  • Withdraw all the remaining Trainload Class 20s and 33s

  • Close “a very great many” diesel depots

  • Merge the three freight companies with Rail Express Systems

  • Reinstate stored Class 08s if increased business warrants it

  • Rename the new company ‘London, Central & Scottish Railway’ or similar.

Trainload Freight fact-file – what Wisconsin Central took over

  • Loadhaul

  • Mainline

  • Transrail

Annual Tonnage

  • £38m

  • £29m

  • £23m

Commercial Revenue (94/95)

  • £150m

  • £136m

  • £127m

Railway Industry Revenue (94/95)

  • £25m

  • £56m

  • £65m


  • 1,659

  • 2,450

  • 2,870


  • 194

  • 284

  • 436


  • 5,470

  • 6,203

  • 7,637

In total: 6,979 staff; 914 locomotives and 19,310 wagons!

By now, British Rail, which had sold off Rail Express Systems, Red Star Parcels, Transrail, Mainline Freight and Loadhaul, as well as all the passenger TOUs, was left to operate just the Freightliner operations and Railfreight Distribution (RfD), which operated freight through the Channel Tunnel.

The Freightliner part of BR was unprofitable and by 1996 had failed to attract a buyer, including Ed Burkhardt and Wisconsin Central. However, the Freightliner management had hinted at their own container operation. Railfreight Distribution remained in BR operation during 1996 and most of 1997.

The name London, Central and Scottish Railways was never used, but the trading name of North & South Railways Limited was used up until early 1996 when a new name for the company was introduced – English, Welsh and Scottish Railway Limited.

It was announced on December 24 1996 that WC/EWS was the preferred bidder for Railfreight Distribution, but before EWS could take over RfD, the European Commission must agree. So, it wasn’t until November 21 1997, the 2315 service from Dollands Moor to Wembley (hauled by 92003 Beethoven) became the last BR operated train, because on November 22, RfD was officially sold and handed over to Wisconsin Central. WC now had a major monopoly of the UK railfreight services. By also operating the freight services through the Channel Tunnel as within the UK, WC now had the opportunity for the “biggest area of expansion that Railfreight and Britain has seen with big opportunities”, as quoted by Ed Burkhardt. The use of the ‘RfD’ branding was continued, and was last used on Monday November 30 1998. The next day, services became known as ‘EWS International’.

Now, having acquired Res, the three former trainload freight companies and Railfreight Distribution, EWS operates approx 85% of Britain’s railfreight, but this is only representative of 5% of all freight carried in the UK – the rest goes by lorry, plane or ship.

EWS has five main ‘business elements’ which cover the majority of their freight services:

  • Coal

  • Metals

  • Construction

  • Petrochemicals

  • Infrastructure Services

  • In addition to these, EWS operate a “Rail Services” section which takes care of the Travelling Post Office (which now doesn’t run), charter trains, rail test and Royal Train movements

The development of EWS’ identity…

The EWS livery was a fully in-house livery as originally dictated by Wisconsin Central. Engineers at Toton were told to investigate how the WC corporate colours of maroon and gold (originally taken from the Soo Line) could be applied to the smaller British locomotive designs. This was done by printing the locomotive outlines on a large sheet of paper then the engineers simply ‘colouring in’ the livery!

The overall concept was satisfactory, but there was difficulty in meeting the Chief Executive’s request that the words ‘Wisconsin Central’ be emblazoned in red capitals on the gold band and so this idea was dropped. There were also attempts to fit the Wisconsin Central Rail Road logo in maroon in the middle of the yellow warning panel, but it looked out of place and was also dropped from the final design.

The specification that was outlined for the new EWS livery was as follows: Maroon bodysides, roofs and ends; black underframes and bufferbeams, standard UK yellow warning panel and a reflective yellow tape to be applied along the bottom of the body side (this was a safety feature taken from WC practice and arose from the need in the USA for locomotives to be visible at night to motorists approaching the unguarded level crossings). To get the correct shade of maroon for the locomotive liveries, a sample ‘plate’ was flown from the USA to the UK and colours mixed to match it. Interestingly, when the Class 66s and 67s were being built, WC sent another sample ‘plate’ to General Motors to mix and it is said that this shade is slightly lighter than the British mix.

The decision to opt for the maroon and gold livery was an easy one with the pressure from parent company Wisconsin Central, but there were bound to be, and indeed are, many variations in the livery…

Original specification:

  • EW&S in Arial Bold font in maroon on the gold band

  • Locomotive number in the same style

  • Class number and locomotive number being grouped as a single five-figure number, not spaced out as BR had formerly insisted.

  • Most Classes had a 600mm gold band, but Class 37s, 58s and 73s looked better with a 550mm band due to their ‘odd’ shapes.

  • The EW&S and the class/loco numbers were in maroon on the gold band with a 20mm clearance with the edge of the band.

Amended specification:

  • Lettering and number style changed from Arial to Gill Sans.

  • The ampersand was also dropped, now reading EWS.

  • The company name and locomotive numbers were at opposite ends of the band on each side, i.e. on one side, the EWS was on the left and the loco number on the right, while on the other side, the reverse applied.

Obviously other minor, but unofficial, non-standard variations apply, such as red buffer beams, black headcode boxes etc…

The first ever locomotive to carry any sort of EWS livery was 37057 when it emerged from Toton in April 1996. The first Class 58 to carry EWS livery – 58033 – emerged with the gold band much higher than the other Class 58s to. Several locomotives – some Class 37s, 56s and 60s – ran in traffic in undercoat when their overhauls were completed before the EWS livery was finalised. Likewise, 58033 undertook a test run in undercoat, but was painted before it was released to traffic.

The next version of the livery had the gold band half way up the body side. ‘EW&S’ as well as the locomotive number were shown in Arial typeface. From 1997 onwards, a third variation of the livery emerged – still the same red and gold band, but the ampersand was dropped, making it just EWS. The distance between the characters was reduced and the typeface was changed to Gill Sans. By using this Gill Sans typeface, EWS was continuing a tradition started by the LNER in the late 1920s and used by BR until the 1960s. Due to the huge costs involved in painting locomotives, this new livery was to be applied to EWS locos after main works attention or overhauls, but even to date, there are still locomotives in EWS ownership that carry the ‘sectorisation’ era liveries (i.e. Loadhaul, Mainline and Transrail).

The first ever recorded passenger charter working by an EWS – liveried locomotive was by 58033 on the 1Z37 Bradford to Bristol return leg of Pathfinder's "Yorkshire Doodle Dandy" rail tour on the 13th July 1996.

With the large number of locomotives under EWS ownership, the repainting of all locomotives into the EWS corporate colour scheme would take a long period of time to complete. In fact, it still isn’t complete to this day, with many still running in the pre-privatisation liveries.

Traditionally, businesses turn to design specialists who work together to come up with a logo/brand for the business. Not EWS! Instead, the company partnered up with RAIL magazine who, through a special ‘Freight in the 1990s’ supplement issued with RAIL 277 during early 1996, invited its readers to submit ideas for the new company logo. Over 1,200 entries were submitted and each individual idea was judged by Ed Burkhardt who eventually chose Tom Connell’s design which depicted an English lion, Welsh dragon and Scottish stag – the three national elements of EWS’ operation. The logo, which was said to ‘give a sensation of speed’, was to be used on locomotives, wagons, depot signs, publicity material and stationery. EWS originally planned to take a winning idea as the basis for a final logo to be produced by an agency, but in the event, only one minor alteration was made to the original design – slightly closing the stag’s mouth!

On Tuesday January 14, 1997, Mr Connell was invited to Toton depot to unveil the new EWS logo on the cabside of 58037. The ‘58’ was the first locomotive to carry the logo, which also had the company name beneath it in Gill Sans typeface. After unveiling the logo in the presence of Toton Depot Engineer, Dave Smith, Mr Connell was presented with a prototype 3D cast relief aluminium plaque of his logo by EWS Communications Manager, Richard Holmes. As part of the prize for winning the competition, Mr Connell was also allowed to choose a cab ride of his choice. He chose to ‘cab’ 60037 hauling the 0940 Burngullow to Irvine tanks on May 15 1997.

Originally it was intended to use a cast logo on each locomotive. However, with a fleet of around 650 locomotives, each requiring two plaques, this was ruled out on cost grounds. Instead, reflective yellow vinyl transfers were to be used.

EWS’ decision to invite rail enthusiasts to submit ideas for their company logo caused outrage among the design professionals… “Trainspotters shouldn’t design logos” – a quote from Mike Denny of Roundel Design might have been taken out of context, but it did have an element of truth. Roundel Design, a company we are now familiar with, and who designed all the renowned Trainload Freight sector logos as well as the Res logo among many more, criticised EWS in five ways of how their method of coming up with a brand design for their company failed:

  • Applying a US livery;

  • Embracing an inappropriate name;

  • Inviting enthusiasts to design the company signature/brand;

  • Not having clear design criteria;

  • Not researching customer views.

Roundel Design also criticised EWS on their choice of name as ‘inappropriate’ as it does not reflect the company’s business – the movement of freight by rail. Mike Denny/Roundel Design summed it all up in one statement: “Inappropriate name, initials and livery”.

However, as we all now know, the adaptation of the red and gold livery as well as the English, Welsh and Scottish name has been a success to a certain degree – just as much as Freightliners’ green livery.

The EWS locomotive story…

The practice of having locomotive pools for dedicated traffic was phased out in favour of a national ‘go-anywhere, do-anything’ fleet.


In an interview given in 1996, Jim Fisk, EWS’ Engineering Director said: “The long term plan is to get rid of the Class 20s, 31s and 33s as soon as possible, with the core EWS fleet comprising of 250 Class 66s; 100 Class 60s; 50 Class 58s; 50 Class 56s and 100 Class 37s as well as a fleet of 08 shunters. There will be no planned reductions in the fleet of electric locomotives”. At the same time, Jim explained, there would be a ‘reserve’ fleet which would comprise of around 130 locomotives which were stored serviceable in a ready-to-run condition, to be used at just a moment’s notice.

Here, we take a brief look into all the different types of traction that were inherited or ordered by EWS and the result that they had…

Class 08/09 shunters

EWS took on several hundred Class 08 shunters and their faster Class 09 cousins. These trusty workhorses were the backbone of shunting yards, but recently, EWS’ decision is that there is now no requirement for them, with the main train locomotives doing all the necessary shunting at the origin and destination of the train as required. At the time of writing, only a fraction of the original fleet of shunters are still working in yards as well as short ‘trip’ workings. Although it is possible a handful will remain around, how long the majority of them will last is anyone’s guess…

Class 20s

From the Trainload Freight companies, EWS inherited 20016, 20057, 20059, 20066, 20073, 20081, 20087, 20092, 20118, 20119, 20132, 20138, 20154, 20165, 20168, 20169 and 20177 which were all stored out of use. However, for a short while, EWS hired in 20075, 20128, 20131 and 20187 which were owned by Racal BRT for work. Of the EWS Class 20s, 20059, 20087, 20118, 20154, 20169 and 20177 were sold to preservation groups; 20165 was sold to DRS and the rest to Harry Needle (not all in one go). HNRC then sold some of the ‘Choppers’ to DRS which ironically have just been resold back to the Harry Needle Railroad Company!

Class 31s

When Trainload Freight was split, the Class 31 locomotives were allocated to Mainline and Transrail, and further locomotives were gradually withdrawn for a number of reasons. When EWS bought all three Trainload companies, it had an unexpected upturn in traffic, and so to cope with demand, it reinstated a large number of locomotives including some Class 31s. These were withdrawn once the Class 66s started arriving in large numbers. The remaining EWS fleet gained a celebrity locomotive in the Summer of 1999, when 31110 was repainted into original BR Green as D5528 for the last EWS Class 31 hauled railtour. EWS withdrew its remaining fleet of four 31s in late February 2001 marking the end of 43 years of regular Class 31 operation.

Class 33s

EWS withdrew its last Class 33s from front line service in 2000 and they were sent to Immingham for store, but following the need for a shunting/trip locomotive able to work on the mainline at a respectable speed, two (33025/030) were resuscitated at Motherwell and based at Aberdeen. Following major engine defects, both locomotives were stored for about a year and then sold to DRS for further use.

Class 37s

When EWS took over the three Trainload Freight companies, it inherited about 275 operational Class 37s. Once described as “unique beasts” by Jim Fisk (Engineering Director, EWS, 1997), the Class 37s were and still are considered the most versatile 'go-anywhere' locomotive of EWS's fleet due to their flexibility and reliability.

This versatility allows for a continued requirement for the class, both on passenger and freight workings. Previous years have seen the class work almost every turn imaginable including demanding work such as Peak Forest limestone traffic, Cornish China Clay, heavy enterprise services up the steeply graded Marches route as well as trip workings, MoD traffic, coal, petroleum, waste, automotive, intermodal, nuclear waste, steel and oil to name but a few. Passenger work has also seen the type used by First North Western on the North Wales coast, Scotrail on ‘sleepers’ to Fort William, Wales and West for trips to Weymouth and Wales and Borders (latterly Arriva Trains Wales) on Rhymney Valleys work. On Monday December 14 2004, the Class 37s fleet suffered a massive cull. 53 were whittled down to just 17 ‘Tractors’ split between four operational pools. However, as EWS were obviously unable to cope without these locomotives, a few weeks later many were re-instated, albeit on a temporary basis.

Class 47s

EWS has one Class 47/0 locomotive that it wishes to hold onto for the future; 47004, the lowest-numbered Class 47 locomotive still not preserved. The entire EWS fleet of Class 47/3 locomotives are in store. The majority of the 47/4 sub class are owned by EWS and are in various states of disrepair around the country. Following the massive EWS locomotive sale programme in 2002, a number of smaller private operators – most notably Fragonset Railways – have acquired locomotives and some are gradually being returned to main line standard. Once common on mail trains, the 47/7 locomotives have been displaced from these duties by the newer Class 67s. EWS once stated that they would ideally like to see an early withdrawal for these 40 year old locomotives. Finally, in 2004, once contacts expires, their wish came true and the remaining Class 47s were withdrawn from service.

Class 56s

Following the appointment of a new EWS chief executive in late 2003, it was clear that the class was not going to see 2004 out. His plans called for a drastic reduction in fleet size to cut costs and re-working of diagrams for Classes 60/66/67 to increase their utilisation. This rendered the Class 56 fleet redundant, and as the first few months of 2004 went by, the Class 56 fleet was reduced almost weekly. Thus, March 31 was announced as the final day for EWS Class 56s – April 1 was the new financial year and it was intended to start off without the costs of the expensive-to-run Class 56s. The fleet size was reduced to 10 in the weeks leading up to the end – 56018, 56059, 56060, 56071, 56078, 56081, 56087, 56091, 56094 and 56115. Of these, 56018 was stored with a defective turbocharger with a week to go and 56095 was reinstated in its place. All the locomotives – bar 56078 and 56115 – were allocated to be stored on March 29 at Knottingley depot in Yorkshire and they made this date. This meant that 56078 and 56115 were for the Pathfinder Tour from Bristol to York – now named 'The Twilight Grids' on the 31st. Both these locomotives were working freight services right up until the time they were needed for their final Class One duties. The 31st dawned and 56115 worked the inward leg from Bristol to York, 56078 worked the York-York mini tour and they were both paired up for the return run to Bristol, heading off into the sun and into history… 56078 did work a freight train the following day, but since then, the only working EWS Class 56s have been those on hire in France.

Class 58s

In 1996, EWS took on board the complete fleet of 50 working Class 58s from Mainline Freight. Still all allocated to Toton depot and mainly working the Nottinghamshire coal traffic, they were still concentrated in the heart of the Midlands, but due to EWS’ nationwide track-access, it was not long until the 58s, along with all other types of EWS locomotives, could be seen ‘out of place’ all over the UK, although the majority of Wales and Scotland still remained virgin territory for the ‘58s’. When EWS took over operation of the 58s, they were described as the ‘best performing Type 5s built’, ‘the top of the pops in terms of traction reliability’. Having a design working life of at least 35 years (i.e. withdrawals should have started in about the year 2018), it was expected that all fifty locomotives would easily see in the new millennium as working locomotives. However, it came as a shock to many enthusiasts when in 1999, EWS announced that two Class 58s would be stored. 58017 was the first to be stored in May of that year at Doncaster with 58022 following soon afterwards. This signalled the start of the end, the slippery downward slope for the Class 58s. Another sign of things to come came at the end of January 2001, when for the first time in 19 years, the Class 58s were no longer diagrammed to work the East Midlands coal services, traction being switched to the new (and allegedly more reliable) Class 66s.

Having been out-based at several locations during their years, it wasn’t until April 2001, for the first time in the history of the Class 58s since they were introduced in 1983, 20 Class 58s were re-allocated from Toton to Eastleigh depot. This decision came after EWS decided to concentrate the Class 58 operations in the South & West Midlands. All heavy maintenance was still to be done at Toton. The twenty locomotives were: 58009, 013, 016, 020, 021, 024, 025, 026, 029, 030, 031, 033, 037, 041, 042, 043, 045, 047, 049 and 050. These worked out of Eastleigh on a variety of trains including stone, oil, cars, and infrastructure trains. Slowly, one by one, they were withdrawn as their engine hours crept up and up or if they suffered a major mechanical failure. It became common practice to ‘rob’ other members of the fleet to keep others going. 58002 is a very good example of this at Eastleigh!

In 2002, there were just a handful of Class 58s still clinging on to work when the ‘end’ was officially announced: September 2002. It was then up to the railtour operators to mark the end of the ‘Bones’ with farewell railtours. In August, Pathfinder Tours ran the infamous ‘Bone Breaker’ tour from Crewe. Originally intended to visit Walton-on-the-Naze, Clacton and Colchester Town, the tour ran into trouble when 58045 collided with the buffer stops at Walton at slow speed. In September, Hertfordshire Rail Tours ran the ‘Bone Idol’ trip. This tour, which took 58024 from London King’s Cross to Skegness and return via Toton, where 58020 took over for the final run back to London, was almost identical in route to the ‘Lincolnshire Coast Pullman’ tour, also run by Hertfordshire Rail Tours on September 20 1986. After the tour, 58024 and 58020 ran to Old Oak Common, being joined a few hours later by 58047 off a car-train working. All three locomotives were then simply ‘switched off’ on September 3 2002 truly marking the end of the Class…

Or was it? Back in 2001 it was announced that Dutch railfreight operator ACTS were seriously looking at hiring a handful of Class 58s to work their ‘Veendam shuttles’. After many months of “will they, won’t they”, we finally saw the deal confirmed in 2003. In this year, we also witnessed Class 58s going abroad to Spain to work infrastructure trains for GIF. 2004 saw ‘58s’ being prepared and moved to France to work on the new LGV Est line between Paris and Strasbourg, but all this will be covered in the next ‘chapter’ in the Class 58 history…

Class 59s

In the late 1990s, National Power sold their fleet of locomotives and wagons to national freight operator EWS, who moved the locomotives down to the London area to take over the heavy stone trains from Class 66s which were sent to the North East to take over coal train workings – a direct swap for the Class 59s. The remaining Class 59/0 and Class 59/1 fleets are all operated by Mendip Rail (MRL) with a common user policy – i.e. they can appear on a rival company’s trains if needed – although this is avoided in most circumstances. It was reported that when the EWS 59s moved south, then they would be placed in MRL's control, although this has not visibly happened, with the locomotives only seeing use on EWS trains in and around the South East.

Class 60s

Even the Class 60s, which were thought to be the mainstay of EWS’ fleets, are not safe. The future of these is now in jeopardy…

The Class 60 fleet are to be found working a wide range of services throughout the EWS network, although they do tend to prevail on slower trains due to their 60mph max speed. During the weekday they are the mainstay on services such as heavy stone workings and heavy steel trains. During the weekend, they are commonly to be found working infrastructure/engineering services. Locomotives are allocated to Margam, Toton, Immingham and Thornaby depots. This allocation means that the locomotives should visit their home depot at least once a month for major exams, but other than that they can appear anywhere.


Class 66s

When EWS acquired Loadhaul, Mainline and Transrail, they realised that a good 50% of the traction it inherited was life expired – this included Classes 20/31/33/37/47. EWS awarded the contract for the design and build of 250 new locomotives to General Motors, Ontario, Canada. GM was chosen as the supplier because EWS' then owner, Wisconsin Central, had locomotives from GM and was more than impressed with their reliability. The Class 66 (originally to be called Class 61) locomotives were built using the same bodyshell as the Class 59s and incorporated all the latest technology. The first of the locomotives docked at Immingham in 1998 and was soon on proving trials. Subsequent batches were delivered to Newport Docks, and the locomotives went straight into service after commissioning on the dockside. The new arrivals came thick and fast, spelling the end for the Class 20 and 33 fleets. The Class 31, 37, 47, 56 and 58 fleets were also affected, some more than others. Because the Class 66 fleet spelt the end for many of the traditional BR locomotive designs, and earned a certain hate amongst most of the UK's railway enthusiasts. But most important was that EWS was able to improve performance for their freight trains – the 66s achieved reliability figures never seen before in the UK and were possibly the easiest locomotive to introduce into traffic.

The 66s acquired over 75% of the freight duties that were previously entrusted to older locomotives, and as a result the locos appeared in all of the sectors – metals, petroleum, stone, intermodal and enterprise were all changed over to Class 66 haulage. This continues even today and will do for a good many years to come.

Class 67s

When EWS took over Rail express systems, it realised that it would need a new fleet of locomotives to replace the highly unreliable Class 47 locomotives on mail and charter trains. Class 66s fitted with ETS would not be suitable as they are restricted to 75mph, thus, the Class 67 was born. EWS chose GM to supply the locomotives, who then sub-contracted Alstom in Valencia to design and build them. The first locomotive to arrive in Britain, 67003, was subject to many faults, including being overweight and too wide, so Railtrack would not let the locomotive travel over its tracks until the faults had been corrected. After 67003 had finished type testing, more shipments of the 67s arrived and they were commissioned on the dockside, allowing a speedy entry into traffic. 67023 was designated a test locomotive for 125mph operation on Railtrack. This was achieved in July 2001 and the rest of the fleet underwent modifications to enable 125mph running. Now that Royal Mail has pulled out of the ‘mail on rail’, the EWS Class 67s now act as ‘Thunderbirds’ for several TOCs as well as occasionally hauling the odd freight train.

Class 73

Before EWS took over the Trainload Freight companies, most of the freight operations in the third rail region of the South of England were handled by Class 73s. However, after the Class 66 arrivals, the EWS mass withdrawal policy hit the Class 73 fleet hard, and in October 2002 only two out of the 16 EWS Class 73s were in a serviceable state. The rest were stored around the South East. The remaining locos were used on infrastructure trains around the London area and the London to Dover TPO. In addition, 73101, painted in the umber and cream livery of The Orient Express, was dedicated to the train until mid-2002. EWS finished with the Class 73s at the end of 2003 after the “Wey Out” railtour was ran. Only two Class 73s ever carried the EWS livery – 73128 received the earlier EW&S variant whilst 73131 carried the revised livery.

Class 86

EWS owns a handful of 86s and these were used to hire to Virgin West Coast to cover for locomotives in its fleet. The entire 86/4 fleet is owned by English Welsh and Scottish Railway but the two locos remaining in traffic are on a long term hire to Freightliner to supplement their 86/6s, but they are now stored WNXX at Crewe.

Class 90

When EWS purchased the Railfreight Distribution company, the 90s were transferred over to the new company. Shortly after EWS won the contract for providing traction on the Anglo-Scottish sleepers, 90125-90129 (now 90025-90029) had their ETS reinstated, and shortly after that 90130-90140 (now 90030 – 90040) had their Train Supply returned to operational use creating a more uniform fleet. These locos have the most diverse duties in the EWS electric locomotive fleet. They currently handle passenger, charter and freight work daily.

Class 92

In late-2001, a very long time after the first locomotive was accepted into traffic, EWS International (formerly Railfreight Distribution) gained acceptance for operation on the entire WCML. Following trials on the ECML, they were passed for the entire route – with restrictions due to the power supply. The locomotives are currently employed on WCML intermodal and enterprise traffic from Scotland to the South and the Channel Tunnel. No freight services are booked for Class 92 haulage on the ECML.

Locomotives known to have carried the EWS* livery

Maroon with mid-height Gold Stripe (EW&S and EWS varieties)

Class 08 : 08389 / 393 / 397 / 402 / 405 / 418 / 428 / 441 / 466 / 480 / 482 / 495 / 499 / 500 / 511 / 512 / 514 / 516 / 526 / 540 / 567 / 569 / 577 / 578 / 580 / 587 / 593 / 597 / 605 / 623 / 630 / 632 / 633 / 653 / 664 / 665 / 670 / 676 / 683 / 685 / 689 / 694 / 695 / 698 / 703 / 706 / 714 / 720 / 735 / 738 / 752 / 765 / 775 / 782 / 783 / 784 / 798 / 799 / 804 / 825 / 828 / 842 / 844 / 854 / 865 / 866 / 872 / 873 / 879 / 886 / 888 / 896 / 897 / 904 / 905 / 907 / 913 / 921 / 924 / 927 / 933 / 939 / 941 / 951 / 957 / 993 / 994 / 995

Class 09 : 09001 / 003 / 005 / 006 / 008 / 009 / 015 / 016 / 017 / 018 / 020 / 021 / 022 / 023

Class 31 : 31255*/466  *Used to test the new paintshop at Toton. 31255 never ran in service with the EWS livery, but does in preservation.

Class 37:37040 / 042 / 051 / 057 / 109 / 114 / 174 / 220 / 298 / 370 / 401 / 405 / 406 / 408 / 410 / 411 / 413 / 415 / 416 / 417 / 418 / 419 / 421 / 422 / 425 / 426 / 427 / 503 / 520 / 521 / 667 / 668 / 669 / 670 / 682 / 684 / 688 / 694 / 695 / 697 / 703 / 704 / 706 / 707 / 712 / 714 / 716 / 717 / 718 / 797 / 801 / 883 / 886 / 893 / 895

Class 47 : 47727/744/747/757/758/760/767/773/778/785/786/787/790/792/793

Class 56: 56011 / 018 / 032 / 037 / 038 / 041 / 051 / 057 / 058 / 059 / 060 / 062 / 065 / 067 / 068 / 069 / 071 / 081 / 087 / 088 / 089 / 091 / 094 / 095 / 096 / 103 / 105 / 113 / 114 / 115 / 117 / 119 / 120

Class 58 : 58016 / 024 / 030 / 033* / 037 / 039 / 047 / 048 / 049 / 050  * 58033 carries the prototype EWS livery with the higher gold band

Class 59 : 59201 / 202 / 203 / 204 / 205 / 206

Class 60 : 60001 / 002 / 003 / 004 / 005 / 009 / 010 / 012 / 016 / 017 / 018 / 019 / 020 / 021 / 022 / 023 / 024 / 025 / 026 / 027 / 029 / 030 / 031 / 035 / 036 / 037 / 038 / 039 / 040 / 041 / 042 / 043 / 045 / 047 / 048 / 049 / 050 / 051 / 052 / 053 / 054 / 058 / 062 / 065 / 069 / 071 / 075 / 080 / 083 / 085 / 087 / 089 / 093 / 094 / 096 / 097 / 098 / 100

Class 73 : 73128 / 131

Class 86 : 86261 / 401 / 426

Class 90 : 90017 / 018 / 020 / 023 / 026 / 028 / 029 / 030 / 031 / 032 / 034 / 035 / 037 / 039 / 040

Class 92 : 92001 / 031

Maroon with 'Zig Zag' Gold Stripe

Class 66 : 66001-250

Class 67 : 67001-030 (except 67005 and 67006, now in ‘Royal Train’ claret and 67029 carries a silver EWS ‘promotional’ livery)

The EWS livery in detail…

English Welsh & Scottish (original design)

This livery is basically all over maroon with a thick gold single body side stripe running between the cabs centrally placed up the body side. Loco numbers and EW&S lettering in maroon is applied in large letters and numbers inside this stripe (Arial Black font). Nameplates are black and silver and loco data panels are yellow. The solebar is painted maroon, apart from the buffer beams which are black, with a reflective yellow stripe running full loco length at the bottom of the underframe. The full loco number is shown in small letters on the front ends of the loco on the yellow front end warning panel. The large radiator grills on the body side are painted black with the three smaller grills below being maroon.

Locomotives that have been painted in this livery include 58016, 58024, 58048 and 58049. Nameplates are fitted below the second man’s side cab window (58049 only).

Variations on this livery are:

58033: The first 58 outshopped in this livery at a time when EW&S were experimenting with the maroon livery. As a consequence, 58033 has a black underframe and the gold/yellow band is positioned much higher up the body side.

58024: Carries the EWS “Three Beasties” logo which was developed after the EW&S brand was modified to become simply EWS with a more modern style of lettering. Lettering remains in the former EW&S style on this loco making it unique.


EWS (modified design)

This modification changed the lettering and number font used on the locos but also introduced the EWS “Three Beasties” logo (see above). This comprises a Lion, a Dragon and a Stag depicting England, Wales and Scotland with the wording beneath reading English Welsh & Scottish Railway. Nameplates are fitted below the driver’s cab side window. This makes 58049 (see above) unique amongst named 58’s in the EWS colour scheme as the Littleton Colliery name is positioned on the secondman’s cab side.

Class 58 locos that have been painted in this livery include 58030, 58037, 58039, 58047 and 58050.

The only main variations that have existed are when the bodyside doors have been replaced in a different order resulting in an unusual sequence of numbers and letters – 58037 was once seen to have “&WES” instead of “EW&S”!.