BR’s Class 73 electro-diesel

Despite its considerable third-rail electrified system the Southern Region had a needed a unique and special type of locomotive. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES looks back at the history of the Class 73.

ELIMINATION of steam traction in the south of England presented British Railways with somewhat different problems than in the rest of the country. In that region modernisation had already been in progress for many years with the result that more than half of the route mileage was equipped with third-rail electrification and the majority of suburban passenger services were already being worked by Electric Multiple Units (EMUs).

Brand new ‘JB’ E6029 has just uncoupled from a special boat train at Folkestone Harbour for the Locomotive Club of Great Britain and Railway Magazine from London Victoria on May 15 1966. Having moved off the third rail section, the locomotive is now operating from its 600hp diesel engine only.

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