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Explore the detail of the Class 81 – the first class of AC locomotive entirely designed for and operated by BR.
The British Rail Class 81 Electric Locomotive was a Bo-Bo configuration AC Electric locomotive and was the first designed for and operated by BR.
Designed by British Thomson Houston and built in 1959 by BCRW at Smethwick, 25 Class 81 units were ordered in two types: Type A, for passenger service, with top speeds of 100mph, and Type B, for freight haulage, limited to 80mph.
Working the major electrified routes from London to Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool, Class 81 last saw service as a shunter between London Euston and Willesden until 1991. Just one locomotive from this class, No. 81003, is preserved.