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Class 74

photograph by David Smith

On a gloomy and snowy 28th March 1975 N°74007 leaves the sidings at Clapham Junction yard with empty stock TCs bound for Waterloo.

With work declining for the Class 71 electric locomotives and the Class 73 electro-diesels proving a success in 1967 the Southern Region decided to convert ten Class 71s into a more powerful version of the Class 73. These conversions were re-designated into the new Class 74.

BR Crewe works performed the rebuilding installing a Paxman high speed diesel engine coupled to an English Electric EE843 generator. The original 2,500hp booster set and four traction motors were retained from the Class 71. Considerable modifications were made to the bodysides to allow ventilation of the diesel engine and also for the superstructure to bear some of the increased weight. The original bogies also had to be modified. The pantographs were removed and the roof recess rebuilt.

The new electro diesels were designed to work in multiple with each other, Class 73s, 33s, EMUs and non powered passenger and freight stock. All ten 74s were based at Eastleigh diesel depot. They were not a success due to poor reliability of their diesel engines and electrical control gear and all were withdrawn during 1977 after only ten years in service. Surviving only this short time they only ever ran in BR blue with full yellow ends.

This page was last updated 3 December 2002

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