British Rail Class 81

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

British Railways AL1
British Rail Class 81
81017 Manchester Piccadilly.jpg
81017 at Manchester Piccadilly
Type and origin
Power typeElectric
BuilderAssociated Electrical Industries at Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company
Build date1959–1964
Total produced25
Specifications
Configuration:
 • AARB-B
 • UICBo'Bo'
 • CommonwealthBo-Bo
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
BogiesFabricated steel, Alsthom suspension[1]
Wheel diameter4 ft 0 in (1.219 m)[1]
Wheelbase42 ft 3 in (12.88 m)[1]
 • Bogie10 ft 9 in (3.28 m)[1]
Pivot centres31 ft 6 in (9.60 m)[2]
Length:
 • Over beams56 ft 6 in (17.22 m)[1]
Width8 ft 8 12 in (2.65 m)[1]
Height:
 • Pantograph13 ft 0 916 in (3.977 m)[2]
 • Body height12 ft 4 14 in (3.77 m)[1]
Axle load20 long tons 4 cwt (20.5 t)[2]
Loco weight79.60 long tons (80.9 t; 89.2 short tons)
Electric system/s25 kV AC Catenary
Current pickup(s)Stone-Faiveley[1] ‘V’-type pantograph, 2 off (later 1 off)
Traction motors4 × AEI 189 6-pole Alsthom Quill drive[1] 847 hp (632 kW)
 • Rating 1 hour760A[3]
 • Continuous700A[3]
Gear ratio
  • 29:76 (Type A)
  • 26:83 (Type B)[1]
Train heatingElectric Train Heating
Loco brake
Train brakesVacuum; Dual from 1972–1973
Performance figures
Maximum speed
  • 100 mph (161 km/h)
  • Full field: 60 mph (97 km/h)
  • Weak field: 71 mph (114 km/h)[1]
Power output:
 • 1 hour4 × 920 hp (690 kW)[3]
 • Continuous4 × 847 hp (632 kW)[3]
Tractive effort50,000 lbf (222 kN)
Career
OperatorsBritish Rail
NumbersE3001–E3023, E3096, E3097; later 81001–81022
Axle load classRoute availability 6
Retired1968 (2), 1971 (1), 1983–1991
Preserved81002
DispositionNon-operational

The British Rail Class 81 is an AC electric locomotive that formerly operated on the West Coast Main Line of the London Midland Region of British Rail. Originally designated AL1, it was the first type of AC electric locomotive to be delivered to British Railways.

History[edit]

As part of the modernization of the West Coast Main Line which included electrification, 100 locomotives of five types were acquired, each type from a different manufacturer.

The first locomotives to be delivered were of type AL1 designed by British Thomson-Houston (BTH), an order being placed for 25 examples. Of these, 23 were for use on passenger trains with a top speed on 100 mph and were designated Type A. The two remaining locomotives were to be for use on freight trains with a top speed of 80 mph, and were designated Type B.[4]

Before the work was completed, BTH amalgamated with Metropolitan Vickers to form AEI (Associated Electrical Industries) traction division,[4] and it was under this name that the locomotives were built in 1959 under subcontract by Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon in Smethwick. The first engine, number E3001, was handed over to British Railways on 27 November 1959.[5] The type was initially used for crew training on the Styal Line between Manchester and Crewe.

The AL1 were numbered E3001 - E3023 and E3096 / E3097; The first twenty-three were Type A, while the last two were to have been the Type Bs and numbered E3301 and E3302.[6] However the last two were instead geared for passenger service, being delivered in February 1964 as E3096 and E3097.

Power supply[edit]

The locomotives always worked on power provided by overhead catenary energized at 25,000 V AC. However, the main transformer, normally operated with the four windings in series, could be operated at 6250V AC with the transformer windings in parallel.[4] This voltage was initially to be used where limited clearances gave concern over use of the higher voltage. However, this approach was never used on the West Coast main line, although it was employed elsewhere such as Glasgow Central in the initial 'Blue Train' electrification there. By the time the WCML wiring was extended to Glasgow, it had been revised there to the mainstream 25 kV voltage.

Operations[edit]

Because they were restricted to those lines electrified at 25 kV AC they only operated on the West Coast Main Line. Cities where these engines could be seen included London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, and Glasgow. They operated passenger trains, freight trains, and parcel trains. There is no record of operation on the Ex-Great Eastern line, which was being electrified at the time of their introduction, nor subsequently on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) when that was electrified in the 1980s.

Early withdrawals[edit]

Three locomotives: E3002, E3009 and E3019 were withdrawn before they could be renumbered under the TOPS system. E3002 and E3019 were damaged by fire and both were scrapped at British Rail Crewe Works. The remains of E3009 were also cut up at Crewe Works, the locomotive having been wrecked in the Hixon rail crash of January 1968.

Renumbering[edit]

Under the TOPS system, twenty-two examples were reclassified as class 81 and numbered 81001 - 81022.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

81 016 was one of a few Class 81 locomotives withdrawn as a result of accident damage.
  • 6 January 1968 (1968-01-06): locomotive No. E3009 collided with an abnormal load at Hixon, Staffordshire, while hauling an express passenger train. Eleven people were killed and 45 were injured. The locomotive was severely damaged and subsequently scrapped.
  • 9 December 1982 (1982-12-09): locomotive 81 016 was involved in an accident near Linslade, Buckinghamshire. It was officially withdrawn in 1983.
  • 26 August 1983 (1983-08-26): locomotive 81 001 was damaged by fire near Carstairs, Lanarkshire whilst working a Motorail train.

Withdrawal[edit]

A row of Class 81 locomotives waiting to be scrapped

Over the years examples of this class were withdrawn from service. The final examples were used for the transfer of empty coaches between London Euston and Willesden sidings between 1989 and 1991. The last two examples withdrawn from service were 81012 and 81017. The majority of the class were scrapped at Coopers Metals in Sheffield.

Preservation[edit]

One example, 81002, has been preserved by the AC Locomotive Group, located at Barrow Hill Engine Shed.

Fleet details[edit]

Key: Preserved Scrapped
Numbers AEI Works Number[7] Date Introduced[7] Withdrawn[8][9] Final Depot Disposal[8]
Type B Type A[7] TOPS[7] Location Date
- E3001 81001 1083 December 1959 July 1984 GW Fire damaged
Scrapped at Crewe Works
September 1986
- E3002 - 1084 January 1960 November 1968 ACL Fire damaged
Scrapped at Crewe Works
January 1969
- E3003 81002 1085 February 1960 October 1990 WN Preserved at Barrow Hill Engine Shed
- E3004 81003 1086 April 1960 March 1988 GW Scrapped at Coopers Metals, Sheffield November 1991
- E3005 81004 1087 May 1960 April 1990 WN Scrapped at MC Metals, Glasgow May 1992
- E3006 81005 1088 July 1960 February 1989 GW Scrapped at Coppers Metals, Sheffield November 1991
- E3007 81006 1089 August 1960 October 1988 GW Scrapped at Coopers Metals, Sheffield November 1991
- E3008 81007 1090 October 1960 February 1990 GW Scrapped at Coopers Metals, Sheffield November 1991
- E3009 - 1091 October 1960 August 1968 ACL Accident damaged
Scrapped at Crewe Works
August 1968
- E3010 81008 1092 November 1960 March 1988 GW Scrapped at Coopers Metals, Sheffield November 1991
- E3011 81009 1093 December 1960 February 1990 WN Scrapped at Coopers Metals, Sheffield December 1991
- E3012 81010 1094 December 1960 May 1990 WN Scrapped at Coopers Metals, Sheffield November 1991
- E3013 81011 1095 December 1960 April 1989 GW Scrapped at Coopers Metals, Sheffield November 1991
- E3014 81012 1096 December 1960 July 1991 WN Scrapped at Coopers Metals, Sheffield December 1991
- E3015 81013 1097 December 1960 October 1989 GW Scrapped at Coopers Metals, Sheffield November 1991
- E3016 81014 1098 March 1961 March 1988 GW Scrapped at Coopers Metals, Sheffield November 1991
- E3017 81015 1099 May 1961 December 1984 GW Scrapped at MC Metals, Glasgow May 1992
- E3018 81016 1100 March 1961 July 1983 GW Accident damaged
Scrapped at Crewe Works
January 1985
- E3019 - 1101 April 1961 July 1971 ACL Fire damaged
Scrapped at Crewe Works
October 1971
- E3020 81017 1102 May 1961 July 1991 WN Scrapped at Coopers Metals, Sheffield November 1991
- E3021 81018 1103 June 1961 January 1986 GW Scrapped at MC Metals, Glasgow June 1992
- E3022 81019 1104 October 1961 January 1989 GW Scrapped at Coopers Metals, Sheffield November 1991
- E3023 81020 1105 February 1962 July 1987 GW Scrapped at Coopers Metals, Sheffield November 1991
(E3301) E3096 81021 1106 June 1962 April 1987 GW Scrapped at MC Metals, Glasgow July 1992
(E3302) E3097 81022 1107 February 1964 July 1987 GW Scrapped at Crewe Works by A Hampton November 1988

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Webb & Duncan 1979, p. 6
  2. ^ a b c Webb & Duncan 1979, p. 27
  3. ^ a b c d Webb & Duncan 1979, p. 28
  4. ^ a b c Bradley, Roger P (November 1980). "Pioneer AC electrics". Railway Modeller. Vol. 31 no. 360. Beer: Peco Publications & Publicity Ltd. pp. 385–387.
  5. ^ "Class History – 81". AC Locomotive Group.
  6. ^ Longhurst 1979, Class AL1–81
  7. ^ a b c d Webb & Duncan 1979, p. 32
  8. ^ a b Furness, Ian. "Disposals: Class 81". wnxx. End of the Line: Withdrawn & Stored Locomotives UK. Retrieved 8 January 2009.
  9. ^ "The Class 81 Fleet". Rail Blue. Retrieved 11 February 2016.

Sources[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]