English, Welsh and Scottish Railway Ltd (EWS) is the largest British rail freight company.

EWS was established by a consortium led by Wisconsin Central Ltd in 1996. Canadian National bought Wisconsin Central in 2001, and held approximately 30% of the company.

On 28 June 2007 it was announced at a press conference held by Deutsche Bahn AG (DB), EWS and Spanish rail forwarder Transfesa that DB was to acquire all the shares in EWS as soon as contracts were signed. [cite web|url=http://www.db.de/site/bahn/en/db__group/press/press__information/db__group/070628__acquisition.html|title=Deutsche Bahn plans takeover of EWS and Transfesa|accessdate=2007-06-28|authorlink=http://www.db.de/site/bahn/en/db__group/press/press__information/press__information.html|date=2007-06-28|publisher=Deutsche Bahn] EWS would be part of DB's international rail freight subsidiary, Railion (now named DB Schenker), but would not be rebranded. [cite web|url=http://www.ifw-net.com/freightpubs/ifw/indexarticle.htm?artid=1182561242956|title=DB gets go-ahead for rail takeovers|date=2007-06-29|accessdate=2007-06-30|last=Falkner|first=James|publisher=International Freighting Weekly]


The first stage of the creation of EWS occurred at 0500 on Saturday 9 December 1995 when it was announced that Rail Express Systems had been sold to a consortium led by Wisconsin Central for £25.7 million and renamed North & South Railways Ltd. Included in the sale were 164 locomotives, 677 vans, depots at Crewe, Bristol Barton Hill, Cambridge and Euston Downside (London), and 800 staff. North & South Railways confirmed that it was bidding for all three of the former BR trainload freight companies: Trans-Rail, Mainline Freight and Load-Haul.

The UK Government had hoped to sell the three trainload freight companies as separate businesses to encourage competition. Few bidders were interested in individual companies because of the threat of competition from the other two, but the outright purchase of all three was an attractive proposition.

By December 1995, there were just two bidders in the running for the trainload companies:
* Wisconsin Central
* FirstFreight - Load-Haul’s management backed by Denver-based rail haulier OmniTRAX

In early 1996 it was announced that Wisconsin Central/North & South Railways was the preferred bidder, and on 24 February 1996 the contract was signed. Later that day the formal handover from BRB chairman John Welsby to Wisconsin Central President Ed Burkhardt took place at a ceremony at London’s Marylebone station. Burkhardt announced several plans for the following two years:
* Order 250 new heavy freight locomotives - EWS bought 250 Class 66 locomotives
* Condemn most of the Class 37s and ‘ageing and unreliable’ Class 47s
* Withdraw all the remaining Trainload Class 20s and Class 33s
* Close “a very great many” diesel depots
* Merge the three freight companies with Rail Express Systems
* Reinstate stored Class 08s if increased business warranted it
* Rename the new company ‘London, Central & Scottish Railway’, or similar

£225.15 million was paid for the three trainload freight businesses, which carried 88.7 million tonnes of freight the previous year with a turnover of £559 million. Some critics said that the figure paid was less than the 10% of their replacement value, estimated at an astonishing £3 billion, as they were the only profitable national freight businesses in Europe. Subsequently, Wisconsin Central/North & South Railways purchased Railfreight Distribution and National Power's railfreight operation.

EWS’ identity

The EWS livery is an in-house UK development of the Wisconsin Central corporate colours. Engineers at Toton were told to investigate how the WC corporate colours of maroon and gold (originally taken from the Soo Line) could be applied to smaller British locomotive designs. The overall concept was satisfactory, but there was difficulty in meeting the Chief Executive’s request that the words "Wisconsin Central" and the company's logo be emblazoned in red capitals on the gold band.

The specification that was outlined for the new EWS livery was:
* Maroon - bodysides, roofs and ends. To get the correct WC shade of maroon, a sample ‘plate’ was flown from the USA to the UK and colours mixed to match it. When the Class 66s and 67s were being built, WC sent another sample ‘plate’ to General Motors to mix, and it is said that this shade is slightly lighter than the British mix.Fact|date=March 2007
* Black - underframes and bufferbeams.
* Gold - most locomotives have a 600-mm gold band, but Class 37s, 58s and 73s look better with a 550-mm band due to their ‘odd’ shapes.
* Yellow - standard UK cab-end warning panels, and a reflective tape along the bottom of the body side, a safety feature taken from WC practice arising from the need in the USA for locomotives to be visible at night to motorists approaching unprotected level crossings.

All lettering was also in maroon applied over the gold, including:
* EW&S in Arial Bold typeface in maroon on the gold band. The ampersand was later dropped. The typeface was later changed to Gill Sans, used by the LNER from the late 1920s and by BR until the 1960s.
* Locomotive number in the same style.
* Class number and locomotive number grouped as a single five-figure number, not spaced out as BR had insisted.Fact|date=March 2007

A later development was that the company name and locomotive numbers were at opposite ends of the band on each side, i.e. on one side, the EWS was on the left and the loco number on the right, while on the other side the reverse applied. The first locomotive to carry EWS livery was 37057 when it emerged from Toton in April 1996. Some Class 37s, 56s and 60s ran in traffic in undercoat when their overhauls were completed before the EWS livery was finalised. Due to the huge costs involved in painting locomotives, the new livery was to be applied to EWS locos after main works attention or overhauls, and there are still locomotives in EWS ownership that carry the ‘sectorisation’ era Loadhaul, Mainline Freight and Trans-Rail liveries.


To develop its new logo, EWS partnered with RAIL magazine which, through a special "Freight in the 1990s" supplement issued with RAIL 273 in early 1996, invited its readers to submit ideas for the new company logo. Over 1,200 entries were submitted and each idea was judged by Ed Burkhardt, who chose Tom Connell's design depicting an English lion, a Welsh dragon and a Scottish stag – the three national elements of the EWS operation. The logo, which was said to "give a sensation of speed", was to be used on locomotives, wagons, depot signs, publicity material and stationery. EWS originally planned to take a winning idea as the basis for a final logo to be produced by an agency, but only one minor alteration was made, slightly closing the stag's mouth.

Connell was invited to Toton depot on Tuesday 14 January 1997 to unveil the new EWS logo on the cab side of 58037. This was the first locomotive to carry the logo, which also had the company name beneath it in Gill Sans typeface. After unveiling the logo in the presence of Toton Depot Engineer, Dave Smith, Connell was presented with a prototype 3D cast relief aluminium plaque of his logo by EWS Communications Manager Richard Holmes. As part of his prize Connell was allowed a cab ride of his choice. He chose 60037 hauling the 0940 Burngullow to Irvine tanks on 15 May 1997. Originally it was intended to use a cast logo on each locomotive. However, with a fleet of around 650 locomotives, each requiring two plaques, this was ruled out on cost grounds. Instead, reflective yellow vinyl transfers are used.

Present operations

EWS primarily operates freight services, hauling everything from coal to sleepers, track and ballast for railway engineering work. It operates throughout Great Britain, and carries items such as cars, chemicals, consumer goods, steel, railway engineering supplies, coal, aggregates, and timber, and also delivers trains arriving in the UK from continental Europe via the Channel Tunnel.

Some operators use EWS locomotives for hauling passenger services, such as Arriva Trains Wales on the Rhymney Line during peak times during the week and at weekends. EWS hauls the Caledonian Sleeper services between London Euston and major Scottish cities, on behalf of First ScotRail.

EWS also operates the Royal Train and previously operated the Travelling Post Office and other mail services for Royal Mail. This contract was not renewed by Royal Mail in early 2004, and a reduced mail train service is now operated under contract by FirstGBRf. EWS also carries mail and parcels for the UK subsidiary of German parcels carrier DHL.

On 26 October 2005, the French Minister of Transport announced that EWS International had been granted a safety certificate and would become the third rail freight operator in France. A new company, Euro Cargo Rail, would be formed to market the new services on routes in northern France, such as Calais to Tourcoing and Dunkerque.

Traction and rolling stock

EWS has a large fleet of both diesel and electric traction, from old British Rail models to the very latest Brush Traction and General Motors models. Some of these locomotives were inherited from British Rail, and others have been purchased by EWS as part of a fleet renewal programme.

The British Rail practice of having locomotive pools for dedicated traffic was phased out in favour of a national ‘go-anywhere, do-anything’ fleet. In an interview given in 1996, Jim Fisk, EWS’ Engineering Director, said: "The long term plan is to get rid of the Class 20s, 31s and 33s as soon as possible, with the core EWS fleet comprising of 250 Class 66s; 100 Class 60s; 50 Class 58s; 50 Class 56s and 100 Class 37s as well as a fleet of 08 shunters. There will be no planned reductions in the fleet of electric locomotives". At the same time, Fisk explained there would be a "reserve" fleet of around 130 locomotives stored serviceable in a ready-to-run condition, to be used at just a moment’s notice.

The plans have altered slightly, with four Class 37s now being regularly used by EWS (37405/406/410/417), no Class 56s or 58s, and the number of Class 60s varying around the year between 70 and 20. While the withdrawal of the non-standard single example of Class 87/1 made sound commercial sense (particularly as it had suffered a major failure), what was not predicted by Fisk was the withdrawal of all the Class 73s and Class 86s operated by the company - many of the 86s were withdrawn following the loss of Royal Mail traffic in 2004. While the Class 92 fleet remains relatively stable, inroads have been made into the Class 90 fleet in recent years, with several examples being stored at Crewe. The congestion and shortage of available pathways on major electrified routes, especially on the East and West Coast Main Lines, have forced freight onto non-electrified sections of track such as dedicated freight lines and local routes, leaving EWS with no option but to use diesel traction at the expense of existing electric locomotives.

Diesel traction

*Class 08 Diesel-shunter
*Class 09 Diesel-shunter
*Class 31 Diesel (now withdrawn)
*Class 33 Diesel (now withdrawn)
*Class 37 Diesel
*Class 47 Diesel (now withdrawn)
*Class 56 Diesel (now withdrawn)
*Class 58 Diesel (now withdrawn)
*Class 59 Diesel
*Class 60 Diesel
*Class 66 Diesel
*Class 67 Diesel

Electric traction

*Class 73 Electro-diesel (now withdrawn)
*Class 86 Electric (now withdrawn)
*Class 87 Electric (now withdrawn)
*Class 90 Electric
*Class 92 Electric

Current fleet

*Class 08 Shunters = Various
*Class 09 Shunters = 001-023/101-107/201-205
*Class 37 = Various
*Class 59 = 201-206
*Class 60 = 001-100/500(ex 016)
*Class 66 = 001-250(UK:189, France:67)
*Class 67 = 001-030
*Class 90 = Various
*Class 92 = Various

Class 66s in France

Allocated to WBEN Pool



66243/66244/66245/66246/66247/66249 WBEN Pool = 61 Class 66s

(Updated in May 2008)


*Class 08:used for shunting and minor freight work. They are mostly seen in EWS train yards and sometimes seen on rural freight lines. Limited to 15 mph.
*Class 37:scattered mostly around the North West of England on the West Coast Main Line. Most have been withdrawn and stored/sold, although a small fleet is to be retained for specific duties. Limited to 80 mph.
*Class 59:used for aggregate transportation from quarries in the West Country. Some Class 59s have been seen on railtours around Yorkshire. Limited to 75 mph.
*Class 60:used for slow coal transport like to Fiddler's Ferry in Widnes, Cheshire. They are also seen on some heavy haul coal and aggregate services. Limited to 60 mph.
*Class 66:used for almost all workings. They are used on most heavy haul workings and certain railtours. Limited to 75 mph.
*Class 67:EWS's fastest locomotives, with a max speeds of 125 mph, four (67004/007/009 & 011) however are limited to 80 mph due to brake modifications for hauling the ScotRail Sleepers north of Edinburgh. These locos are solely operated by EWS. Currently they are primarily used on First ScotRail's three Caledonian Sleeper services north of Edinburgh, and the new 'Wrexham & Shropshire' company use Class 67 locomotives 67012,013,014 and 015 to haul these new services from London Marylebone to Wrexham General. Locomotives 67005 and 67006 also operate the 'Royal Train'. They also are used for freight and the new weed-killing programme. They have a high axle-load, and are subject to severe speed restrictions on many overbridges, on lines that they were never intended to run over.
*Class 90:EWS's Bo-Bo mixed-traffic electric locomotives has a max speed of 110 mph, although apart from occasional railtours on the West and East Coast Main Lines or on loans to 'Virgin Trains' the usually operate at 75-80 mph. They are used all over the country for freight work on electrified lines. Their most notable passenger operation is the First ScotRail Caledonian Sleeper between London Euston and Scotland on the WCML where the trains are formed of sixteen coaches - the longest passenger train length in the UK.
*Class 92:the youngest AC electric locomotive in the EWS fleet. They were built to haul freight and passenger trains through the UK, France and Belgium although in service they have never operated beyound the French Channel Tunnel freight terminus near Calais. They are very capable of hauling heavy loads and reliable. One has been seen pulling a coal train consisting of two Class 66s, a Class 60 and a Class 67. This locomotive can be used on 25 kV AC overhead lines and also DC 3rd rail lines due to its dual voltage system. Limited to 90 mph (75 mph on freight trains).

See also

*Rail transport in Great Britain
*History of rail transport in Great Britain
*EWS Company Train

External links

* [http://www.ews-railway.co.uk/ EWS website]

Further reading



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