British Rail Class 73

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British Rail Class 73
Class 73, no. 73201 at Woking. This locomotive was used by South West Trains as a “Thunderbird” to rescue failed trains.[1]
Type and origin
Power typeElectro-diesel
Builder73/0: British RailwaysEastleigh Works
73/1: English Electric at Vulcan Foundry
Build date1962, 1965–1967
Total produced49
 • WhyteBo-Bo
 • UICBo'Bo'
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Wheel diameter3 ft 4 in (1.016 m)
Length16.36 m (53 ft 8 in)
Loco weight73/0: 76.30 long tons (77.52 t)
73/1: 76.80 long tons (78.03 t)
Electric system/s660–750 V DC
Current pickup(s)Third rail
Prime moverEnglish Electric 4SRKT Mk II
Traction motors73/0: EE 542A
73/1: EE 546/1B
Train heatingElectric Train Heating
Train brakesVacuum, Air and Electro-Pneumatic
Performance figures
Top speed73/0: 80 mph (129 km/h)
73/1: 90 mph (145 km/h)
Power outputElectric (continuous): 1,420 hp (1,059 kW)
Electric (one-hour): 1,600 hp (1,193 kW)
Engine: 600 hp (447 kW)
Tractive effort73/0 (electric): 42,000 lbf (186.8 kN)
73/0 (diesel): 34,100 lbf (151.7 kN)
71/0 (electric): 40,000 lbf (177.9 kN)
73/1 (diesel): 36,000 lbf (160.1 kN)
Railroad(s)British Rail
FM Rail
Gatwick Express
Network Rail
South West Trains
NumberE6001–E6049; later 73001–73006, 73101–73142
Axle load classRoute availability 6
Class 73, no. E6013 (73107) at Rowsley South, on the Peak Railway on 17 April 2003. This locomotive was on loan from Fragonset Railways, and has since returned to main-line service.
Class 73/1 73101 in BR blue livery

The British Rail Class 73 electro-diesel locomotives are very unusual in that they can operate from a 750 V DC third-rail supply but also have a diesel engine to allow them to operate on non-electrified routes. This makes them very versatile, although the diesel engine produces less power than is available from the third-rail supply so they rarely stray from the former Southern Region of British Rail. Following the withdrawal of the more powerful Class 74 electro-diesels in 1977, the Class 73 is now unique on the British rail system.

References[change | change source]

  1. It's now at Long Marston