Class 81 (AL1)
Class: Class 81 (AL1)
Weight: 80 tons
Purpose: Mixed Traffic
Information: British Railways Modernisation Plan put forth plans in the late 1950ís to electrify large parts of the network using 25-kV AC electric over-head catenary. As a large number of unproven electric locomotives would be required to take over both passenger and goods services over former Midland West Coast Mainline (WCML) as steam was retired, British Railways placed orders for five designs of varied source for comparison purposes. The AL1 was the first, often regarded as the most successful, of the prototype designs that followed.
Details: Orders were placed for 25 AC electric locomotives with Metropolitan Vickers (AEI Traction Div.) with deliveries commencing in November 1959. The intent was to build 23 locomotives geared for 100-MPH passenger service and 2 additional locomotives with an 80-MPH top speed for freight service. During construction the specification changed and all locomotives were constructed for mixed traffic service with the higher top speed rating. Locomotives were built at Birmingham Carriage and Wagon Works in Smethwick, entering service between 1959 and 1964.
As built, the locomotives featured two pantographs. In practice it was found the second pantograph was of no benefit and subsequently removed. Locomotives were originally out-shopped in Electric blue with red buffer beams and white window surrounds and roof. The livery was adorned with a cast BR lion emblem and running numbers at both cab ends. Later small safety yellow end warning panels were added to cab ends. By the late 1960ís, with the electrification scheme well underway BR was quick to repaint the locomotives in the new Corporate Blue colour scheme with full yellow ends. After 1972 locomotives in the class were renumbered in the Class 81 series under TOPS.
Although the locomotives were quite successful in operation there were several fires and accidents necessitating early withdrawal. Between 1983 and 1991 the remainder of the class was withdrawn, most lasting until the early 90ís. One member, E3003 / 81 003 is preserved at Barrow Hill Shed in non-operational condition.
Class 81 (AL1) Releases (4)
|A.E.1 Type AL1 Electric Locomotive||E3001||B.R. Blue|
|A.E.1 Type AL1 Electric Locomotive||E3001||B.R. Electric Blue|
|Class E.3000 Electric Locomotive||E3000||B.R. Electric Blue|
|Inter-City Train (A.E.1 Type AL1 Electric)||E3001||B.R. Blue|