Locomotive naming celebrates GBRf’s relationship with West Somerset Railway

One of GB Railfreight’s Class 66 heavy freight diesel locomotives – 66757 – has been formally named ‘West Somerset Railway’.  The name symbolises the important relationship between the rail freight operator and Britain’s longest heritage railway line.  The naming ceremony took place at Bishops Lydeard Railway Station.

Class 66 locomotives are a General Motors product which have been successfully introduced on railway systems across Europe and have become the principal means of haulage for heavy freight and freightliner traffic in Great Britain since their introduction in the 1990s.

GB Railfreight (GBRf) has won many contracts for the movement of freight, particularly in the areas of infrastructure and construction work including the Crossrail project in London and the newly opened Borders line in Scotland which Her Majesty the Queen travelled on in September.

John Smith GBRF Managing Director commented “We have supported the West Somerset Railway and its affiliated Diesel Locomotive Group (DEPG) with assistance and expertise for many years, and we recognise the high standards of both operation and engineering skills that are present on this heritage railway”

“Only this year our Class 59 ‘Yeoman Highlander’ undertook its first public run on the UK rail network on the West Somerset Railway since its repatriation.  Today’s naming celebrates our close working relationship and will serve as a reminder of the good work that the railway does as the locomotive travels up and down the country”.

GBRf has worked with the West Somerset Railway before, bringing locomotives from their fleet to special events on the 20 mile long heritage line which runs between Bishops Lydeard (near Taunton) and Minehead and a Class 73 locomotive was named after a member of their staff during a diesel enthusiasts weekend two years ago.

WSR General Manager Paul Conibeare added: “We are pleased to welcome our colleagues back to Minehead and honoured that GBRf has chosen to name one of their locomotives after the West Somerset Railway.  The locomotive will be seen across the railway network of Britain and will help to raise the profile of this company far and wide.”