British Rail Class 97/6

Ranked #121 on the list Best Locomotive class of All Time

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About British Rail Class 97/6

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The British Rail Class 97/6 0-6-0 diesel shunting locomotives were purpose-built for departmental duties by Ruston & Hornsby at Lincoln in 1953 (97650) or 1959 (97651-654). There are minor technical differences between 97650 and the 1959 batch. This class of five locomotives is outwardly similar to the Class 04 locomotives built around the same time but, internally, they are quite different. The Class 97/6 is diesel-electric while the Class 04 is diesel-mechanical. The fleet was originally numbered PWM650-654 in the Western Region Permanent Way Machines series, but were renumbered into the Class 97 series between 1979-1981. Locomotives were original painted in BR Green livery, which was later superseded by BR Blue and finally Civil Engineering Yellow liveries. They were employed at various locations, including Reading West (97650/653/654), Gloucester / Cardiff Canton (97651) and Plymouth Laira (97652). A special feature of this class is that the electric traction motor can be disengaged from the wheels. This allows the locomotive to be hauled by another locomotive at speeds above 20 mph. With the privatisation of British Rail these locomotives were largely made redundant. Three

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