IT is now 15 years since a Class 58 last ran under its own power in Britain. The date was March 19, 2003 when Nos. 58041+58043 ran light engine from Eastleigh to Dollands Moor on their way for use in Spain.
The last Class 58 had been switched off by EWS in September 2002 after Nos. 58020 and 58024 worked the farewell ‘Bone Idol’ railtour from King’s Cross to Skegness and return. At that time, the ‘58s’ were less than 20 years old – the class doyen No. 58001 having been handed over to British Rail at the end of 1982 and the last, No. 58050, in March 1987.
The fleet was built for use on Merry-Go-Round coal trains, but such traffic was already in decline before the last of the class entered service in March 1987. This left them essentially without a role, and they were finally killed off by the introduction of new Class 66s under EWS ownership.
Read more in the March issue, on sale now.