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British Rail Class 73 facts for kids

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British Rail Class 73
Class 73, no. 73201 at Woking. This locomotive was used by South West Trains as a “Thunderbird” to rescue failed trains.
Power type Electro-diesel
Builder 73/0: British Railways’ Eastleigh Works
73/1: English Electric at Vulcan Foundry
Build date 1962, 1965–1967
Total production 49
Configuration Bo-Bo
UIC classification Bo'Bo'
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Wheel diameter 3 ft 4 in (1.016 m)
Length 16.36 m (53 ft 8 in)
Locomotive weight 73/0: 76.30 long tons (77.52 t)
73/1: 76.80 long tons (78.03 t)
Electric system(s) 660–750 V DC
Current collection method Third rail
Prime mover English Electric 4SRKT Mk II
Traction motors 73/0: EE 542A
73/1: EE 546/1B
Top speed 73/0: 80 mph (129 km/h)
73/1: 90 mph (145 km/h)
Power output Electric (continuous): 1,420 hp (1,059 kW)
Electric (one-hour): 1,600 hp (1,193 kW)
Engine: 600 hp (447 kW)
Tractive effort 73/0 (electric): 42,000 lbf (186.8 kN)
73/0 (diesel): 34,100 lbf (151.7 kN)
71/0 (electric): 40,000 lbf (177.9 kN)
73/1 (diesel): 36,000 lbf (160.1 kN)
Train heating Electric Train Heating
Train brakes Vacuum, Air and Electro-Pneumatic
Career British Rail
FM Rail
Gatwick Express
Network Rail
South West Trains
Number E6001–E6049; later 73001–73006, 73101–73142
Axle load class Route availability 6
E6013 at Rowsley South
Class 73, no. E6013 (73107) at Rowsley South, on the Peak Railway on 17 April 2003. This locomotive was on loan from Fragonset Railways, and has since returned to main-line service.
73101 John Griffiths
Class 73/1 73101 in BR blue livery

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.

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