66055, EWS (now DB Schenker), photographed in Didcot, UK, on June 25, 2010.




Three more pictures from this location: EWS 66116…




EWS 66097….




…and 66955 from the Freightliner UK fleet.




This 77004-5 is operated by Euro Cargo Rail; photo taken at the Eurotunnel depot, Frethun, France, on June 23, 2010, by Keith Fender.




Another picture by Keith Fender (many thanks for both!); 6601, SNCF Fret Benelux, Antwerpen Oost, Belgium, taken on March 4, 2009.




And, at last, a Polish 66, namely 66009, photographed near Suwałki on August 14, 2010. Photo by Marek Graff (thanks a lot!).




66012 from the Freightliner PL fleet, photographed in Zduńska Wola Karsznice on October 4, 2010.




Another Freightliner PL locomotive: 66005, photographed in Wasilków near Białystok on July 16, 2011.




66010, Freightliner PL, Zduńska Wola Karsznice, September 9, 2011.




Two more pictures from this location: 66009, November 17, 2011…




…and 66001, December 21, 2011 (both from Freightliner PL).




66178 from the DB Schenker fleet, photographed at the Sosnowiec Jęzor depot on April 10, 2012.




Another locomotive from the same operator: 66163, Turoszów, April 26, 2012.




Back to Karsznice and one day later: 66010, Freightliner PL.




Back to Didcot station: 66562, Freightliner UK, June 14, 2012.




66227, DB Schenker Rail Polska, photographed in Tomaszów Mazowiecki on June 25, 2012.




66006, Freightliner PL, Zduńska Wola Karsznice, February 27, 2013.




No. 66604, Freightliner PL, photographed at the same location on October 2, 2013.




Another locomotive from the Freightliner PL fleet: No. 66011, Warszawa Zoo station, September 25, 2013. Photo by Chris West (thanks for permission!).



Three photos taken at the Sosnowiec Jęzor depot on March 3, 2014: an unknown Class 66 in the DB Schenker livery…



…another one, also number unknown…



…and 66153, still in the EWS livery.



Two DB Schenker Rail Polska locomotives, photographed in Małaszewicze on July 5, 2015: 66189…



…and 66196, the latter still displaying the EWS livery.



66708, GB Railfreight, during unloading of the last batch of seven examples at Newport, Wales, on February 12, 2016. Source: www.railwaygazette.com.



66227, DB Cargo Polska, photographed in Katowice on May 6, 2019.



No. 66180, operated by DB Cargo Polska, still displays the EWS Railways livery; Konstancin-Jeziorna, August 28, 2019.


Private companies that commenced operation after the liberalization of Polish railway market have tended to rely – as far as heavy line diesel locomotives are concerned – on second-hand M62s and 060DAs (PKP classes ST44 and ST43, respectively). A notable exception is Freightliner PL, the Polish branch of UK-based Freightliner Group Ltd. This company entered the market in 2007 with seven brand-new custom-built type JT42CWRM heavy freighters; however, it was not the first one in Poland to use this type.

History of this locomotive goes back to 1998, when EWS (English, Welsh and Scottish Railways – since January 2009 a part of DB Schenker) ordered from General Motors-Electro Motive Division (EMD) 250 examples of a freight diesel locomotive, developed from earlier class 59, then in service with several British operators. Classed 66 (factory type JT42CWR), this locomotive has found widespread use in UK and orders came also from other private companies, including Freightliner UK. In all, over 450 examples are now in use in the UK. In April 2005 EMD parted with General Motors and since then operates as Electro Motive Diesel. Class 66 proved very successful and was later ordered also by several European railway companies from Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Sweden. Most of these locomotives are formally owned by various leasing companies, the largest one being Angel Trains. Besides, forty examples were ordered in 2009 by Egyptian National Railways (Class 2120) for heavy passenger trains. In 2011 two locomotives were purchased by Setrag company of Gabon. In February 2016 last batch of seven 66s was shipped to GB Railfreight, taking their fleet to 78 examples; these are believed to be the last locomotives of this type built, as the manufacturer intends to introduce an entirely new type. Total production is estimated at about 700; one source (www.class66.railfan.nl) lists 651 examples built until 2010 plus seven more ordered. This total number includes later variant JT42CWRM, designed to meet more demanding environmental standards, among them Stage IIIA exhaust emission regulations. There are many sub-versions, depending on individual customers and differing mainly in equipment details, including air-conditioning unit, which is missing in some variants – in fact, British and Norwegian trade unions complained of poor working conditions for the crews and high noise levels in the cab. Roof-mounted air-conditioning unit does not fit British vehicle gauge. Worth mentioning is also Class 66/6 for Freightliner UK with reduced gear ratio and tractive effort increased by about fifteen percent. According to the manufacturer’s statements, a new redesigned version for European continental operators, designated Class 66EU, was expected to appear in 2010; main differences compared to the basic design were higher tractive effort, slightly wider body (conforming with the Continental rather than British vehicle gauge) and dynamic brakes. No further information is available.

Locomotives of this type appeared in Poland in early 2007; the first one was briefly used by Koleje Bałtyckie (a subsidiary of Heavy Haul Power International) and the second remained in use for a few months. Their main service was with heavy freight trains between Hamburg and Poznań; none, however, had ever been based in Poland. Freightliner PL commenced operation in Poland with seven brand-new ‘environmentally friendly’ JT42CWRMs, which arrived between August 2007 and March 2008 and were numbered 66001 through 66007. This fleet was later supplemented by eight older JT42CWRs and JT42CWR-T1s, the latter differing in minor details, from the parent UK company (66008 through 66015), which arrived in Poland between September 2008 and February 2012, and six lower-geared 66601 through 66602, which were impressed into service between January 2010 and July 2011. One more (with ‘untypical’ service number 653-10) was leased from MRCE Dispolok in July 2010, while further two (6606 and 6607) saw only short service and were returned to Beacon Rail.

In the meantime, DB Schenker Rail Polska decided to transfer several Class 66 locomotives, operated by EWS (English, Welsh & Scottish Railway), from UK to Poland. First of them, 66220, began tests in May 2010 and in January 2011 a plan was announced to transfer as many as 40 examples in next two years. Until April 2012, twelve arrived and further three were expected to join them in May.

All locomotives are used in heavy freight traffic. In Poland, they haul the heaviest drafts in Europe (single-heading), up to 4 800 tonnes – coal trains between Upper Silesia and Baltic ports, as well as block trains of dumpcars with aggregates for highway construction. One of their assignments is coal transport to the Kozienice power station in eastern Poland from collieries located near Lublin. With maximum tractive effort of 41.7 tonnes, these are the most powerful diesel locomotives used by any Polish operator.


Main technical data







Years of manufacture


1998 –


Total built / used in Poland


about 700/ 351)


Axle arrangement




Transmission type




Design maximum speed




Prime mover type




Engine rating


2420 / 3290


Bore X stroke



Number of cylinders




Number of electric engines


6 X D43TRC


Rated output of electric engines



Main reduction gear ratio



Diameter of drivers




Total weight


126 900


Axle load




Axle base


17 290


Overall length


21 350


Maximum width


2 640


Train heating




Brake type




1)     April 2012.

2)     105 km/h for Freightliner 66/6 variant.


References and acknowledgments


-       SK, various issues;

-       www.emdiesels.com, http://freightliner.pl, www.class66.railfan.nl, www.railwaygazette.com;

-       Jacek ‘JacoChiżyński (private communication);

-       Marek Graff and Keith Fender (also private communication – thanks for the photos).