In 1985 aggregate quarrying company Foster Yeoman investigated the purchase of a small fleet of locomotives dedicated to the haulage of their rail freight business. Dissatisfied with the performance of the BR class 56 locomotives and with European locomotive builders unwilling to guarantee the level of reliability Foster Yeoman demanded.
FY already owned a large shunting engine built by GMs' Electro-Motive Division, a standard model built for US customers and much larger than the British rail network could accommodate. Taking a standard engine, alternator, traction motors and control equipment used for locomotives in the US EMD engineers designed a completely new locomotive, 'shoe-horned' into the restrictions of the British Rail loading gauge.
The outstanding success of the class 59s allowed EMD to enter and develop their locomotive business in Europe, latterly with the 'class 66 generation' locomotives now operating in many countries. The similarity in the bodyshell design and shaping from the 59s to the 66s is quite obvious!
Features of the Class 59 include:
Finely moulded body with many applied fine details
Printed name plates (Etched plates supplied separately)
DCC ready, DCC and sound fitted models available
Cast wheels with fine relief and appropriate colouring
Heavy diecast chassis with all wheel pick up
NEM pockets as standard
All class 59 versions tooled
Operating, independently controlled headlight and cab lights (all lighting variations tooled)
DC & DCC Lighting Capabilities
DC lighting with independent control of #1 & #2 end lamps (push/pull/light engine) and cab lighting (controlled by switches)
DCC controlled fully independent lighting:
Push/Pull and light engine modes for head and taillights
Day/Night headlamp selection
Marker lamp control (where applicable)
Independent cab lighting (leading cab /trailing cab /off)