Read all about the Class 40 and discover why a locomotive originally intended for great things ended up being demoted to secondary duties.
The British Rail Class 40 Diesel Locomotive was designed to pull passenger express services. Built by English Electric in a 1Co-Co1 configuration between 1958 and 1962, these locomotives were subsequently demoted to secondary work.
Built at the Vulcan Foundry in Newton-le-Willows, the Class 40 first went into service between London Liverpool Street and Norwich, as well as on the East Coast Main Line. Criticised for its lack of power, the engines were subsequently used for passenger services on the West Coast Main Line.
With West Coast Main Line electrification from the mid 1960s and the introduction of more powerful diesel engines, the Class 40 was reassigned to work on freight and local passenger services. Gradually retired between 1976 and 1985, some were reinstated for a short period. All were withdrawn by 1988, and several examples have been preserved.