British Rail Class 73
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.
This class of 49 locomotives were built in two batches using English Electric components. The first six locomotives were built by BR at Eastleigh works in 1962 and were numbered E6001-E6006. They were classified as Class JA under the initial classification scheme, but following the introduction of TOPS in 1968 they became Class 73/0. In the early 1970s the locomotives were renumbered 73001-73006.
The remaining 43 locomotives were built by Vulcan Foundry between 1965 and 1967. They were initially classified as Class JB and numbered E6007-E6049. They differed slightly from the six earlier machines, having most notably in having an increased tractive effort as well as a higher maximum speed (90 mph as opposed to 80). Following the introduction of TOPS, they became Class 73/1 and were renumbered 73101-73142. One locomotive, E6027, had already been withdrawn following accident damage and so was not renumbered.
Since privatisation, the Class 73 fleet has been reduced in size following the large-scale withdrawals of the EWS and Gatwick Express fleets. However, many smaller operators have acquired locomotives, so their continued use is assured for the foreseeable future.
English, Welsh and Scottish Railway (EWS)
EWS no longer operate Class 73 locomotives.
Eurostar own two Class 73 locomotives, which have been specially modified to be enable them to haul a Eurostar unit. The two locomotives, nos. 73118 and 73130, have had additional coupling equipment fitted, and are primarily used to rescue failed Eurostar sets, or to haul them over non-electrified routes. They rarely stray from North Pole Depot.
FM Rail (previously Fragonset Railways) bought several redundant locomotives from EWS. Most of these were initially stored at various locations around the country, including preservation sites, such as the Mid-Hants Railway, the Peak Railway and the Dartmoor Railway. Some of these locomotives were repaired for use on these heritage railways, such as no. 73134 on the Dartmoor Railway.
One locomotive, no. 73107 "Spitfire" has now returned to mainline traffic following overhaul. It has been repainted in Fragonset's black freight livery, and is expected to be used on empty coaching stock moves associated with charter trains. It was regularly hired to GB Railfreight from late 2004 as cover for their fleet but is now based at C2C's East Ham Depot along with the Blue Pullman Rake.
Gatwick Express (National Express Group)
Until mid 2005, GX operated several Class 73s with Mk 2 EMU sets with GLV luggage vans. Most have now been withdrawn and replaced by EMUs. However 73202 "Dave Berry" has been retained as a "Thunderbird".
GB Railfreight is the newest operator of Class 73 locomotives, having bought six redundant Gatwick Express locomotives, numbers 73203-207 and 73209. Four of these (73204-206 and 209) have now been returned to traffic after overhaul by Fragonset at Derby. They have been repainted in the company's blue and orange livery, and named after female employees. The locomotives are primarily used on engineering trains originating from Eastleigh and Tonbridge. GB Railfreight has since purchased 73208 and repainted it into BR Blue.
Merseyrail Electrics had a fleet of four Class 73/0 locomotives, based at Birkenhead North TMD, for use on shunting and other departmental duties. Two, nos. 73001 and 73006 were repainted into Merseyrail's yellow livery. They were later fitted with sandite discharging equipment and reclassified as Class 73/9. The locomotives were withdrawn from traffic by 2002, and all four were later sold for preservation.
Network Rail inherited two redundant Gatwick Express locomotives, nos. 73212 and 73213, from its predecessor Railtrack. These were overhauled and painted in the company's blue and green livery. They are used on engineering trains associated with an upgrade of electrical supply systems on the former Southern Region.
A third locomotive, no. 73141, was originally bought for spare parts, but it has now been returned to traffic in case of failure of one of the other two locomotives.
The locomotives have been repainted into Network Rail all-over-yellow with red buffer beams. 73212 and 213 can usually been seen in Tonbridge West yard.
South West Trains
South West Trains inherited one locomotive, no. 73109, which is used as a "Thunderbird" rescue locomotive. It was named in 1990 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. It is affectionately known as "BoB" by rail enthusiasts.
South West Trains have recently expanded their fleet, by acquiring two more locomotives, nos. 73201 and 73235. Both are former Gatwick Express locomotives. The first of these, no. 73235, was overhauled in early 2005 and repainted in the new Desiro blue livery. It was joined by no. 73201 later in the same year. Around the same time, no. 73109 was also repainted into the new blue livery. The blue livery was chosen to match the Desiro stock, as almost all the slam-door stock had been withdrawn by mid-2005.
Several locomotives have been preserved on heritage railways, where perforce they run on their diesel engines: no preserved line has third rail electrification. They are particularly popular because they have a small diesel engine and hence are efficient with speeds normally limited to 25mph, yet they are big mainline locomotives and thus more attractive than diesel shunters with similar-sized engines. Of note are the first built locomotive, No. 73001, and the former Pullman locomotive, No. 73101.
73136 has been rescued from a scrap yard and rebuilt by a group of enthusiasts to main-line standards. It is certified by Network Rail for use on the main line at a speed of 90 mph.
|Numbers (current in bold)||Name||Livery||Location||Notes|
|E6001||73001||73901||-||Merseyrail Yellow||Dean Forest Railway||First-built JA locomotive.|
|E6002||73002||-||-||BR Blue Large Logo||Dean Forest Railway||-|
|E6003||73003||-||Sir Herbert Walker||BR Green||Swindon and Cricklade Railway||First example preserved (December 1996)|
|E6005||73005||-||-||BR Electric Blue||Severn Valley Railway||-|
|E6006||73006||73906||-||BR Electric Blue||Severn Valley Railway||-|
|E6007||73101||73100||The Royal Alex'||Pullman||Avon Valley Railway||First-built JB locomotive. Former Pullman locomotive.|
|E6016||73110||-||-||BR Electric Blue||Churnet Valley Railway||-|
|E6025||73119||-||-||BR Blue||Keith and Dufftown Railway||-|
|E6035||73128||-||-||EW&S Red/Gold||Chasewater Railway||One of only two locomotive painted in EWS livery.|
|E6036||73129||-||City of Winchester||Network SouthEast||Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway||-|
|E6040||73133||-||The Bluebell Railway||Mainline Freight Blue||Vale of Glamorgan Railway||-|
|E6043||73136||-||Perseverance||BR Blue||Mainline registered||Final locomotive operated by EWS.|
|E6045||73138||-||-||BR Blue Large Logo||Barrow Hill Engine Shed||-|
|E6047||73140||-||-||BR Blue||Spa Valley Railway||-|
|No. range||Operators||Loco nos.||No. in traffic||Withdrawn||No. preserved|
|Class 73/2||14*||73201-213/235||Gatwick Express||73202||1||-||-|
|Key:||In Service||Withdrawn||Preserved||Under Repair||Departmental||Scrapped|
|E6002||73002||-||-||-||BR Blue Large Logo||Merseyrail||11/1995||Preserved|
|E6003||73003||-||Sir Herbert Walker||1993-||BR Green||EWS||09/1996||Preserved|
|E6004||73004||-||The Bluebell Railway||1987-1990||Bluebell Blue||British Rail||09/1991||Component recovery at Isfield. |
Scrapped at Kingsbury by HNRC (02/2004)
|E6005||73005||-||Mid-Hants Watercress Line||1988-1993||BR Blue||Merseyrail||12/2001||Preserved|
|E6007||73101||73100||Brighton Evening Argus
The Royal Alex'
|E6008||73102||73212||Airtour Suisse||1985-1997||NR Yellow||Network Rail||-||In service|
|E6009||73103||-||-||-||InterCity Executive||FM Rail||01/1999||Stored at Dartmoor Railway|
|E6010||73104||-||-||-||InterCity Executive||FM Rail||04/1999||Stored at Mid-Hants Railway|
|E6011||73105||-||Quadrant||1987-1990||Civil Engineers||FM Rail||02/2000||Stored at Battlefield Line Railway|
|E6012||73106||-||-||-||BR Engineers Grey||EWS||02/2000||Scrapped at Rotherham (09/2004)|
|Fragonset Black||FM Rail||-||In service|
|E6014||73108||-||-||-||Civil Engineers||EWS||01/2002||Scrapped at Rotherham (09/2004)|
|E6015||73109||-||Battle of Britain 50th Anniversary||1990-||SWT Blue/Red||South West Trains||-||In service|
|E6017||73111||-||-||-||InterCity Executive||British Rail||05/1991||Scrapped at Stewarts Lane (01/1997)|
|E6018||73112||73213||University of Kent at Canterbury||1990-1997||NR Yellow||Network Rail||-||In service|
|E6019||73113||73211||County of West Sussex||1986-1991||Gatwick Express||Gatwick Express||07/2002||Withdrawn at Stewarts Lane|
|E6020||73114||-||Stewarts Lane Traction Maintenance Depot||1994-1999||BR Blue Large Logo||FM Rail||01/1999||On loan to Battlefield Line Railway|
|E6021||73115||-||-||-||BR Blue||British Rail||04/1982||Scrapped at Slade Green (04/1982)|
|E6022||73116||73210||Selhurst||1986-1997||Gatwick Express||Gatwick Express||09/2002||Withdrawn at Stewarts Lane|
|E6023||73117||-||University of Surrey||1987-1996||InterCity Executive||FM Rail||01/1999||On loan to Dartmoor Railway|
|E6024||73118||-||The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway||1987-1996||EPS Grey||Eurostar||-||In service|
|E6025||73119||-||Kentish Mercury||1986-1999||Civil Engineers||EWS||01/1999||Preserved|
|E6026||73120||73209||Alison||2005-||GBRf||GB Railfreight||-||In service|
|E6027||-||-||-||-||BR Blue||British Rail||07/1972||Scrapped at Slade Green (02/1973)|
|E6028||73121||73208||Croydon 1883-1983||1983-1997||Gatwick Express||GB Railfreight||-||In service|
|E6029||73122||73207||County of East Sussex||1985-1997||Gatwick Express||GB Railfreight||02/2001||Withdrawn at Peterborough|
|GBRf||GB Railfreight||-||In service|
|E6031||73124||73205||London Chamber of Commerce
|GBRf||GB Railfreight||-||In service|
|GBRf||GB Railfreight||-||In service|
|E6033||73126||-||Kent & East Sussex Railway||1991-1999||Network SouthEast||EWS||01/1999||Training locomotive at Moreton-in-Marsh|
|E6034||73127||73203||-||-||Gatwick Express||GB Railfreight||05/2001||Withdrawn at Peterborough|
|E6035||73128||-||O.V.S. Bullied C.B.E.
C.M.E. Southern Railway 1937-1949
|E6036||73129||-||City of Winchester||1982-2003||Network SouthEast||EWS||06/2002||Preserved|
|E6037||73130||-||City of Portsmouth||1988-1996||EPS Grey||Eurostar||-||In service|
|E6038||73131||-||County of Surrey||1988-1993||EWS Red/Gold||EWS||09/2003||Scrapped at Rotherham (08/2004)|
|E6039||73132||-||-||-||InterCity Executive||FM Rail||11/1998||Scrapped at Rotherham (08/2006)|
|E6040||73133||-||The Bluebell Railway||1990-2004||Mainline Freight||EWS||12/2003||Preserved|
|E6041||73134||-||Woking Homes 1885-1985||1985-1996||InterCity Executive||FM Rail||04/1999||On loan to Dartmoor Railway|
|E6042||73135||73235||-||-||SWT Blue/Red||South West Trains||-||In service|
|E6043||73136||-||Kent Youth Music||1992-2004||Mainline Freight||EWS||01/2004||Preserved|
|E6044||73137||73202||Royal Observer Corps
|Gatwick Express||Gatwick Express||-||In service|
|E6046||73139||-||-||-||InterCity Executive||FM Rail||03/1999||Stored at Mid-Hants Railway|
|E6048||73141||-||-||-||InterCity Executive||Network Rail||03/1999||Stored at York|
|E6049||73142||73201||Broadlands||1980-1998||SWT Blue/Red||South West Trains||-||In service|
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British Rail Class 73
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|Diesel locomotives - Electric locomotives - DMU - DEMU - AC EMU - DC EMU - Departmental units|
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|Classes:||01 - 01/5 - 02 - 03 - 04 - 05 - 06 - 07 - 08 - 09 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14|
|Pre-TOPS type:||D1/1 - D1/2 - D1/3 - D1/4 - D2/1 - D2/2 - D2/3 - D2/4 - D2/5 - D2/6 - D2/7 - D2/8 - D2/9 - |
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47 - 48 - 50 - 52 - 53 - 55 - 56 - 57 - 58 - 59 - 60 - 66 - 67
|Pre-TOPS type:||D8/1 - D8/2 - D10/1 - D10/2 - D10/3 - D11/1 - D11/2 - D11/3 - D11/4 - D11/5 - D12/1 - |
D12/2 - D12/3 - D13/1 - D14/1 - D14/2 - D15/1 - D15/2 - D16/1 - D16/2 - D17/1 - D17/2 -
D20/1 - D20/2 - D22/1 - D22/2 - D23/1 - D25/1 - D27/1 - D33/1 - KA - KB
|Pre-1955 type:||10000-10001 - 10100 - 10201-10203 - 10800|
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|Pre-TOPS type:||AL1 - AL2 - AL3 - AL4 - AL5 - AL6 - EB1 - EE1 - EM1 - EM2 - ES1 - HA - HB - JA - JB|
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