At long last, and as promised by DBS, the first of the fully overhauled Class 60's emerged. At 22 years of age, 60007 under the BR regime that produced it, would ( like all the other previous freight loco's ) have had at least three major works overhauls so far. Where the Class 60's were unlucky was that they were born of the high technical specification environment of a nationalised railway, but almost immediately passed into the profit centered private railway with a completely different set of priorities.
Every penny spent on maintenance in the private railway is removed from the profit bottom line, it is as simple as that. Add to this the commercial pressure to maximise the usage of the leased locomotives in the fleet ( a factor unique to the railway as BR owned all it's loco's outright ) and the conditions were set for the difficult situation that has plagued the Class 60 fleet for the past few years.
As locomotives have become older in engine hours and bogie mileage terms, many have been sidelined and have often donated parts to other class members. The tough commercial environment that DBS operates in within the UK, dictated the fleet usage pattern that has arisen, but it is a credit to them that it is under their ownership that the first real plan for a long term class 60 fleet has evolved. It is thought that plans were in place as long as 3 years previously, to begin to overhaul and enhance some locomotives, however these were seriously delayed when the recession struck and expenditure was clamped down upon.
The core Class 60 fleet seems to have survived the past few years prior to the overhaul scheme commencing, by careful management of it's ever decreasing remaining engine hours and bogie mileages, which obviously could not go on forever. The overhaul program appears to have got into it's stride just in the nick of time before the fleet was completely worn out.
60007 passes Kilby Bridge working 6H10 Bletchley - Peak Forest empty Cemex hoppers on 18th January 2014
Image James Power
Seen here in Pwll in July 2009, 60059 was one of the the first batch to be overhauled. Now sporting the bright DBS red as opposed to the popular Loadhaul livery.
Image Mark Thomas