Thursday 2 April 2015

68006 - A History

This was meant to be a post commemorating the fact that yesterday saw Abelio take over from First north of the border to start operating Scotrail services. I was attracted to a Tweet from Richard Clinnick of Rail Magazine, revealing that two Class 68 locos, 68006/7 had been repainted into Scotrail livery and are operating a handful of services on the Fife Circle line. So I did some research and discovered that firstly there are no photos availabe yet of 68007 in Scotrail livery, which is a shame as I saw that in Ipswich last year, but also that 68006 has been worn by other vehicles too in the past, and so the post has morphed into a history of 68006.

We start in 1965 with this rather interesting looking steam locomotive belonging to GNER. It is  a J94 Class 0-6-0ST which I believe indicates it is a shunting engine (I am a complete novice at steam). This photo was taken at Middleton Top in Derbyshire. the phot is by David Cooke, whse Flickr page you can see here.

The little J94 tank engine 68006 in 1965     pic by David Cooke
Next we move down to Kent, or rather Southern Region, and a memory from my youth. I remember these class 419 luggage units operating boat trains from Dover Western Docks effectively making 13 coach trains. I always thought these units found their way onto the first Gatwick Express trains, but something at the back of my head tells me that maybe wasn't the case. Perhaps someone can fill me in on that one. In the first of two pics here is 68006 at Victoria in August 1975. The picture is by Hugh Llewelyn whose Flickr page you can access here.

Class 419 luggage coach 68006 at Victoria Station August 1975        pic by Hugh Llewelyn
The second picture shows the traditional British Rail blue and grey (officially), again at Victoria in 1978. Pic from Google images.

68006 at Victoria in 1978
And so fast forward to the present and the new and current 68006, which has spent most of its time with DRS in Scotland, only making the odd foray South. Here she is in her original DRS livery in Grangemouth, operating a Grangemouth - Aberdeen intermodal freight service on 14th december 2014. The pic is by Skinnybob72 whose Flickr page you can access here.

The latest 68006           pic by skinnybob72
And so to yesterday and the first day of Abelio in Scotland. I rather hope the infrastructure causes them less grief than it does in East Anglia. Here is 68006 at Inverkeithing in her new Scotrail livery with 2K18 Cardenden to Edinburgh. The pic is by Matt Payn whose Flickr page you can access here.

68006 at Inverkeithing on 1st April 2015      pic by Matt Payn
It's quite an exciting time for Scottish rail enthusiasts with various stock movements that could see short formed HST's operating journeys currently operated by 170 DMU's. Nice to see more loco hauled services starting to creep back in and I'm hoping to expand the rail side of the blog in the near future.


  1. Steve u got wrong number on pic for train buddy! Will have to keep my eyes open for fife circle as it used to be class 67 operated with shabby mark2 coaches

    1. Cheers buddy - it's having a 69006 bus here makes it force of habit! I actually had it in the title for a bit until someone pointed it out!