Red Revolution - We Celebrate 25 Years of Class 66 With Two Exclusives!
April 18th, 1998. 8:53am. The first of a brand new locomotive type, the Class 66 no. 66001, touches down on British soil for the first time. A first in a significant order of 250 machines for EWS, it began a revolution which would spread across the UK freight network, across a multitude of operators. It would go further too, across Europe and even all the way to Egypt with orders piling into EMD for their latest freight locomotive design.
It is hard to believe that the Class 66 has been with us for a quarter of a century, plying its trade across the network hauling freight in a myriad of liveries and operators. The Class 66 would continue in production for British operators for 18 years, with the final locomotive, 66779, arriving in 2016 to operate for GBRf.
With such a significant anniversary, we have decided to mark the event by releasing two Accurascale Exclusive models which bookend the class; 66001 and 66779.
The arrival of 66001 on to British soil at 08:53 on the 18th of April 1998 heralded a new dawn for British rail freight, the first of several hundred locomotives of a type that would revolutionise Railfreight across the UK (and Europe).
There were a few subtle differences between the first two and the rest of the production batch which have never been replicated before on a model. Firstly the lashing eyes to secure the locomotive to the ship were in a different position to later models. The horn grille was also mounted almost flush with the body. Visually 66001 looked more striking owing to its red grilles which were later changed to black. Our model will represent 66001 with the original red grilles.
Drawing the production line to a close after 18 years and many hundreds of locomotives was 66779. This locomotive was specially finished in British Railways lined green it was to be named “Evening Star”. The loco also carried commemorative bells above the cab windows and a plaque denoting its significance in the Class 66 story.
Its appearance reflected that of BR class 9F 92220, Evening Star which famously brought the curtain down for steam production for British Railways. In an unveiling ceremony at York on the 10th May 2016, GBRf CEO, John Smith promised the locomotive to the National Railway Museum when it reaches the end of its expected service life. Still carrying its special BR lined green livery it can be seen working across the country on all manner of GBRf workings.
As this is a later Muncie built Class 66 our model will feature accurate detailing such as recess in cab fronts, different vents, large sandboxes and of course, the distinctive bell on the cab front as featured on the real 66779.
Both models will be part of our first batch of Class 66 locomotives and see new tooling variations grown from the already extensive tooling suite we have taken over from Hattons.
Delivery is slated for Q1 2024, with prices of £169.99 for DC/DCC ready and £259.99 DCC Sound fitted. Decorated samples are due with us in June, so keep an eye out for them.
As ever with our Accurascale Exclusives range, both locomotives will come with special presentation packaging and are only available direct via our website. Click below to pre-order today!