British Rail Class 53

Ranked #222 on the list Best Locomotive class of All Time

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About British Rail Class 53

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British Rail assigned Class 53 to the single Brush Traction-built prototype locomotive Falcon. While not in any sense a failure, the design was the victim of advances in locomotive technology (specifically, the power obtainable from single low-speed diesel engines) and was never duplicated. The Falcon project began in 1959 to design a new, lightweight diesel-electric Type 4 locomotive for a British Railways' requirement for second generation diesel locomotives. No single lightweight diesel engine was powerful enough, so the Falcon project used twin German-designed Maybach MD655 engines like those in the Class 52 'Western' diesel-hydraulic locomotives of the Western Region. These drove Brush generators and traction motors, rather than the hydraulic transmission of the 'Westerns'. The prototype, wearing a livery of lime green and chestnut brown and bearing the number D0280 after its Brush project number 280, emerged from Brush's Loughborough works in September 1961. Initial testing took place on the Eastern Region, based at Finsbury Park, and the London Midland Region, following which it was transferred to the Western Region for power-unit performance testing. Returning to Brush in

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