15 February 2023
Cavalex Models to release commemorative twin-pack of Co-Co locomotives for OO gauge.
On January 14, 2023, 56081 and 56098 worked the GBRf Class 56 Farewell Tour from Wembley Central to Barrow Hill and return. To commemorate this event, Cavalex Models has revealed that it is to produce a limited number of models of these locomotives for 4mm:1ft/OO gauge.
Cavalex Models said: "We are delighted to announce that we will be offering 56081 and 56098 as a limited-edition pair thanks to GB Railfreight. The [prototypes] looked resplendent in their retrospective liveries and were a credit to the staff involved. The GBRf Class 56 Farewell Railtour twin pack is available exclusively from our retailers. We would like to pass on our thanks to GBRf, Bob Tiller and Tony Middleton for their help and support with producing these models."
Prices for the twin pack are £379.90 for the DCC ready version, with prices of sound-fitted variants to be announced. Cavalex Models has said that it hopes to provide an update on sound-fitted models at Model Rail Scotland later this month.
In 2018, GB Railfreight acquired 16 Class 56 locomotives from UK Rail Leasing to meet the increased demand for motive power as the company continued its growth in the sector. The plan was to rebuild the Class 56s based on the need to improve emissions, save costs through improved fuel economy and standardisation amongst the fleet.
Classified as Class 69, the newly-converted locomotives would incorporate new parts including a new engine and cooler group with bogies and traction motors being retained, but overhauled. In April 2019, GB Railfreight announced that ten locomotives had been ordered, with the option for an addition six more, which would be rebuilt by Progress Rail at its Longport facility.
The first of the Class, 69001, was released from Longport in February 2021 and moved to the Severn Valley Railway for testing. 69002 followed in March of the same year and as of January 2023, the fleet currently stands at seven operational locomotives. To mark the end of Class 56 operations by GB Railfreight, UK Railtours in association with GBRf, arranged a final mainline railtour with two of GBRf’s Class 56 locomotives before the last of the fleet prepared for conversion to Class 69.
Ahead of the Railtour, 56081 and 56098 were painted by local staff as a one-off before withdrawal, in BR blue and large logo liveries respectively.
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