60099 passes Clay Cross Junction on 15th September 2012
Image Phil Sangwell
Brush delivered the first Class 60 in 13 months from receipt of order, essentially a completly new design fully compliant with the BR specification. The first two loco's were allocated for extensive commisioning and type testing which commenced at the BR Research Mickleover test track, and would later continue on the Old Dalby test track. Acceptance type tests for ride, braking and traction took place on the test tracks and included main line running to specific locations for special tests. BR's testing and monitoring regime was very thorough and aimed at ensuring a compliant locomotive was handed over to the business groups ( sectors ) for operation. In parallel with the tests and evaluation stage, 60003 & 60016 were allocated across the trainload freight network for driver and depot training and were regularly used on service trains before formal entry to traffic. 60005 was operated off Leicester on Redlands Mountsorrel to Radlett stone trains in December 1989, a routine that would become the 1000 trouble free miles test for every new loco from Brush. Although the loco's were built at the rate required by BR, roughly one per week at it's fastest, the significant time required to set up a new loco's control system ( software and electronics ), hardware problems and resulting modifications, all delayed acceptance.
The loco was expected, and contractually required to have an unprecedented heavy freight capability with regard to traction performance in particular, whilst have excellent ride and low cab noise levels for the driver. It took longer than planned to perfect it all, but the end result was unprecedented and outstanding. The 60 had the absolute best heavy haul, ride and cab noise performance of any UK heavy hauler. Even today, it still has. 60019 was the first loco to run in normal service off Thornaby, after which the fleet spread rapidly across the UK giving immidiate benefits to the sector operators with train loadings, and a far superior working day for the train crew.
60004 in 25 shop at Brush during construction.
Image Craig Simmons