Monday, April 6, 2015

Outlines of Power - Nº 5 : Class 73

Here we have the fifth 'Outlines of Power' article by Mike Turner that 'Rail Enthusiast' ran during the early 1980s. This features the BR / English Electric Class 73 electro-diesel and has a great portrait of Nº 73105 whilst the accompanying text reads as follows:
The square and stubby-looking Class 73 Bo-Bo electro-diesels have been part and parcel of Southern Region operations for 21 years - and their ancestry goes right back to the 1940s-built CC1-3 straight electric locomotives, which carried motor-generator "booster' sets to get them moving when "off the juice". These locos were eventually renumbered 20001-3. The Class 73s differ from most of their predecessors (with the exception of the Class 74 rebuilds from Class 71 locos) in that they have a four-cylinder English Electric Type 4 SRKT diesel engine which allows the locomotives to operate indefinitely - or at least until the fuel runs out - on non-electrified lines. There are 47 examples of Classes 73/0 and 73/1, the first half dozen, 73001-6, being the 73/0s built in 1962. These have detail differences from the rest of the class, which followed three years later, and cannot be run in multiple with them. The 73/0s weigh about a ton less than the rest, and have a top speed of 80 mph instead of 90 mph. The locomotives are surprisingly powerful on straight electric third-rail pick-up, producing 2,450 bhp with a maximum tractive effort of 42,000lb. On diesel engines alone they struggle a bit, with only 600 bhp on tap. The Class 73s were built at Vulcan Foundry, Newton-le-Willows, are are used as general mixed traffic engines. They are chosen for some prestige runs such as visits by Heads of State from Gatwick Airport and for the Venice Simplon Orient Express. They will also power the soon-to-be-introduced Rapid Rail-Air Link between Victoria and Gatwick. These locomotives will be push-pull fitted and may eventually carry a new classification.

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