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AMERICAN TRACTION IN BRITAIN
Phil Mortimer softcover

The widespread use of North American diesel electric freight locomotives (Class 59/66/70) now masks the earlier waves of locomotives designed, built and imported from the US into Britain. In the early years of the twentieth century the major railways were experiencing a rise in traffic levels, but were unable to build new locomotives to satisfy this requirement. They turned to US loco builders (Baldwin and Schenectady), who were very quickly able to dispatch tranches of 2-6-0 freight locomotives. These had only a limited service life most were gone by the outbreak of the First World War.Fast forward to 1942/43 and the US supplied a very large number of 2-8-0 freight locos destined for Europe once it had been liberated. These arrived and were used in considerable numbers by the incumbent British railway companies to reinforce their sorely pressed locomotive inventories while others were stored under strong guard awaiting departure for France.The wave of diesel electric locomotive imports from the US followed successful trials in the mid-1980s of locomotives specifically tailored to squeeze into the UK loading gauge and to offer higher reliability, availability, pulling power and fuel economy compared to the available domestic product. They now wholly dominate UK rail freight. This success story has changed the face and, as the UK industry was progressively privatised, effectively rescued the fate of rail freight as the UK industry.

Due December Alpha1

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