British Rail Class 74

Ranked #240 on the list Best Locomotive class of All Time

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About British Rail Class 74

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British Rail Class 74 was an electro-diesel locomotive that operated on the Southern Region of British Railways, rebuilt from redundant Class 71 locomotives in the late 1960s. An electro-diesel locomotive is one that can operate either from an electrical supply, such as overhead catenary or (in this case) an energised third rail, or from an onboard diesel engine. All the locomotives were withdrawn between June 1976 and December 1977; they were scrapped between 1977 and 1981. Twenty-four examples of British Rail Class 71 (pre-TOPS type HA) were built in 1958 at the British Rail works in Doncaster and in 1964 ten were deemed surplus to requirements, withdrawn from service and placed in storage. The Southern Region was highly impressed with the "little-ED" JA & JB/class 73 locomotives and were keen to see a higher power locomotive with the same flexibility. In 1965, discussions were opened with English Electric (builders of the production JB/Class 73) to produce a high powered electro-diesel. Originally a centre-cab locomotive was envisaged similar in concept to the Clayton Class 17 but details on this are scant. This design was not pursued - possibly due to the historical frugality

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