Chiltern leases six Class 68 locos for Mainline services in £15m deal
Chiltern Railways is spending £15m to lease six new Class 68 diesel locomotives for use on its Birmingham to London Marylebone services.
Forming part of its Mainline silver train fleet, the 85-tonne Class 68s will be supplied and fully maintained by Carlisle-based Direct Rail Services (DRS). DRS will also assist in the commissioning of the engines prior to them being introduced for service.
The new locomotives are expected to be in operation by winter 2014, and it has been reported that the first Class 68 to arrive in the UK is currently undergoing tests, with another on trial at a rail technology centre in the Czech Republic.
Rob Brighouse, managing director of Chiltern Railways, said: “The introduction of new locomotives marks yet another key investment milestone for our Birmingham to London Marylebone route.
“Their addition not only updates our fleet with the most up-to-date diesel locomotives in the UK, it allows us to prepare for future expansion as demand for our line increases.”
Chiltern has so far invested £130m upgrading the Mainline route since its launch in 2011. The intention was to reduce journey times between Moor Street and Marylebone and make the service a viable competitor to the West Coast Main Line.
(Image of 68002 Intrepid at Derby on 6 February 2014 copyright Rob Reedman, used here under a Creative Commons licence)
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