BR Class 67

The BR Class 67 is a 3,200 bhp diesel electric locomotive built for the English, Welsh, and Scottish Railway (EWS) for use on passenger and mail trains. The locomotive was manufactured by Alstom in Valencia Spain, and equipped with GM-EMD drive components.

After the division of British Rail into multiple private entities, the operating sectors were divided between various newly established operating companies. One of these companies was North and South Railways Limited, which later purchased Rail Express Systems, a major carrier for Royal Mail. This attracted the attention of North American company Wisconsin Central, who was looking to expand into the UK market. The company established interest in the North and South Railways Limited, and purchased the firm in 1995, combining many of the major ex-BR rail freight companies, and re-branding the company as English, Welsh, and Scottish (EWS).

As a result of this venture, Royal Mail was one of many major contracts EWS held. In 1998, they were looking to replace their aging Class 47/7 locomotives on passenger, charter, and mail duties. For these tasks, a high speed, high horsepower locomotive was needed. EWS contracted Alstom in Spain for an order of thirty Class 67 locomotives in 1998, to be owned by Angel Trains, and leased by EWS. The first locomotive was delivered in 1999, numbered 67003.  Before delivery to the UK, locomotive 67002 traveled on a high speed rail line in Spain, and reached speeds in excess of 140 mph.

Duncan Coterill/railography

Upon delivery, the locomotives were delivered to the UK by ship at Newport in EWS’s maroon and yellow livery. All members of the class were allocated to Cardiff, and were saw their first revenue earning runs in the west. The class was designed to operate at speeds of 125 mph, however, heavy axle loading and possible damage to rail infrastructure limited them to 110 mph. Further modifications included fitting the locomotives to the UK loading gauge, as some were slightly out of gauge, this issue, however, was rectified for further production of the class.

The Class 67 has an Alstom car body, and “H” bogies, however, it harnesses the power and reliability of the GM-EMD prime mover, traction motors, and generators. Together, these components worked together to deliver a high horsepower, high speed locomotive that was fitting to the railway’s needs during this time.

Upon introduction into service, the locomotives worked the 49 fast mail trains for which EWS was contracted to operate. However, in 2003, Royal Mail announced the end of their partnership with EWS, preferring to move parcels by road and air, as it was concluded the the railway’s rates were too high. EWS counteracted and proclaimed that this would add hundreds of thousands of lorries to the roadways, and would hinder the ability to haul mail quickly. With the duties that the class was built for now nonexistent, EWS had to find other jobs for the locomotives, which were worth 1.5 million per unit. Due to the high axle load of the units, they were limited on the routes of which they could operate, especially those in the Scottish region.

Alexander Johnson

Eventually, the Class 67 fleet was reassigned to various duties throughout the network such as fast freight trains and various charter train duties. With most of the fleet not fully utilized, the locomotives found themselves working various jobs around the network.

As a result of EWS being purchased by DB in 2007, after various debates on EWS’s monopoly on the coal industry and wagon repair business, the Class 67s were handed to DB. On DB, they were used on various workings and leased to several different operating companies for passenger workings, including Caledonian Sleeper services on the non-electrified lines of rural Scotland. Two Class 67 locomotives were also purchased by Colas Rail Freight for Network Rail infrastructure trains when 100 mph running was needed. These units were 67023 Stella and 67027 Charlotte, and repainted into Colas orange, yellow, and black livery. Additionally, 67024 & 67021 were painted in the brown and cream livery of the Belmond British Pullman, who leases the units from DB.

In 2003, 67005 and 67006 received the honor of being used on the Royal Train, and were painted in the Royal Claret livery. The Class 67s replaced the previous Class 47s that were previously allocated to the Royal Train. These units have the responsibility of transporting members of the Royal Family to various events throughout the country. The units are stabled at Wolverton Works in Buckinghamshire. In addition to working the Royal Train, 67026 was named Diamond Jubilee by Queen Elizabeth II in 2012.

Richard Dyke

Due to upgrades performed on the Chiltern Main Line during the mid-2000s, Chiltern Railways needed a high speed diesel-electric locomotive to facilitate the locomotive hauled trains on the route between London Maylebone and Birmingham Snow Hill, and received the Class 67 sets previously in use with Wrexham and Shropshire. In 2015, the Class 67s were replaced with new Vossloh Class 68s. The Class 67s were sold back to DB railfreight, and facilitated various freight workings.

In 2012, Arriva Trains Wales leased three Class 67s to replace their current Class 57s on their Premier Service from Holyhead-Cardiff. Locomotives 67001, 67002, and 67003 were leased from DB, assigned to the service and painted in Arriva blue, however, various DB Class 67s in other liveries are often seen operating on the service.

Matt Spencer


The BR Class 67 locomotive is a 3,200 bhp locomotive powered by a EMD 12N-710G3B-EC prime mover, giving power to a EMD AR9 altenator, powering four EMD D43FM traction motors and putting 2,500 horsepower to the rail. The locomotive has a route availability of eight, which restricts the units on various routes due to high axle load.

The cab of the locomotives have a desktop setup where the driver is situated in the middle of the cab. The locomotive is able to facilitate various passenger workings due to its Electric Train Supply (ETS), and its high speed running capability.

Build Date1999-2000
Total Built30
Wheel ConfigurationBo’Bo’
Wheel Diameter965 mm
Minimum Curve75 m
Wheelbase2.80 m
Length19.71 m
Height3.93 m
Weight90 tonnes
Fuel Capacity5,400 litres
Prime MoverEMD 12N-710G3B-EC
AlternatorEMD AR9
Traction motorsEMD D43FM
Max Speed125 mph
Horsepower3,200 bhp
Tractive EffortMax: 32,000 lbf

Continuous: 20,700 lbf

Brakeforce78 long tons
Route Availability8

Locomotive Names

Many of the locomotives were named after the mail train duties they were built for, however, throughout their working lives, various units have been renamed as they got passed on to different owners and lessees. However, some locomotives do not carry their names, which are noted in the chart below as “formerly”.

67001Night Mail(formerly)
67002Special Delivery(formerly)
67004Cairn Gorm
67005Queen’s Messanger
67006Royal Sovereign
67012A Stropshire Lad (formerly)
67013Dyfrbont Pontcysyllte(formerly)
67014Thomas Telford (formerly)
67015David J Lloyd(formerly)
67018Keith Heller
67025Western Star
67026Diamond Jubilee
67029Royal Diamond
Richard Dyke


Lifelong Rail Enthusiast and Owner of Worldwide Rails

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