British Rail AC Electric Locomotives.

When the route from London Euston to the North West and Scotland was electrified a number of different designs of locomotive were introduced. Initially these were classed as AL1 - AL6 where 'AL' represented AC Electric Locomotive. These later became Classes 81 - 86. The Class 87s would have been AL7 were it not for the introduction of the computerised TOPS (Total Operations Processing System) method of stock numbering and would probably have been numbered in the E34xx series.

Quite a significant proportion of AC electrics have been involved in serious collisions in their time, particularly members of 81 and 82 with a total of five examples being written off between 1968 and 1971. Classes 81 - 85 acquired an alarming tendency to catch fire especially in their latter days of service. By the end of 1983 the 82s, 83s and 84s had been withdrawn from mainline service, a pair of Class 82s and one Class 83 were retained for local empty coaching stock movements until their final withdrawal by 1989. Two years on saw the final demise of Classes 81 and 85, the "Roarer" was no more.

Class 86 has fared better, by early 1999 only a few had been withdrawn mainly due to accident damage the most recent of which was 86239 which very nearly ended up in someone's front room near Stafford after the parcels train it was hauling collided with a derailed freight train.

The use of 86s on passenger turns ended in East Anglia following the demise of passenger turns on the West Coast main Line.

Along with the ending of Class 86 activity on the WCML use of Class 87s all but ended. The 87s saw limited use elsewhere and by the end of 2007 they were taken out of service with the plan being to export the surviving locos to Bulgaria.

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Locomotive Numbering History | Locomotive Gallery.

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