Class 87

The Class 87 was built for the extension of the electrification of the West Coast Main Line into Scotland and was Britain's first 5, 000hp locomotive [1]. The Class 87 was a development of the then standard AC electric locomotive the Class 86 and shared the same body shell but with redesigned bogies with Flexicoil suspension to reduce track wear [2] and frame mounted traction motors. The Class 87s were cleared to travel at up to 110 mp/h.

Number built: 36
Built: 1973-75
Builder: BREL Crewe / GEC Traction
Engine: 4 GEC G412AZ traction motors
Power: 5, 000 hp (3, 728 kW)

Thirty five Class 87/0s were built with a 36th locomotive being the solo Class 87/1 which tested a thyristor control system. The later Class 90 was a development of the 87 and indeed was at one stage to have been the Class 87/2. A small number are still in operation on the main line and some have been preserved. Quite a few have been exported to the continent and serve in Eastern Europe [3].
87 001 at the NRM

87 035 at Crewe Heritage Centre

Cab of 87 035

[1] Chris Heaps, BR Diary 1968-1977 (Ian Allan, 1988), p. 70
[2] Brian Haresnape, Electric Locomotives (Ian Allan, 1983), p. 69
[3] Colin J. Marsden, Traction Recognition (Ian Allan, 2008), p. 88

Class 143

The Class 143 was built at the same time as the Class 142 and is also a railbus design marrying a bus or coach type body (built by coach builder Walter Alexander) to a chassis derived from a freight vehicle. The Class 143 perhaps look a bit more like a train however compared to the 142, the body of which retained more aspects of its Leyland National bus heritage.

Number built: 25 2-car sets
Built: 1985-86
Builder: Walter Alexander / Andrew Barclay
Engine:Cummins LTA10-R per car
Power: 450hp (330kW)
Formation: DMS (Driving Motor Standard)+DMSL (Driving Motor Standard Lavatory)

Originally the 143s worked for British Rail's Provincial Sector and the Tyne & Wear PTE. In the privatised era they are operated by First Great Western (GWR) and Arriva Trains Wales. Like the 142s their original transmission has been replaced with a Voith hydraulic one. As with the other railbus designs the 143s are probably in their final years now with withdrawal planned for the end of the decade.
ATW 143 614 at Cardiff Central

ATW 143 606 at Cardiff Queen Street

Class 377 [Updated]

The "Electrostar" Class 377 is the largest fleet of EMUs built since rail privatisation and has replaced 4-Cig and 4-Vep EMUs on commuter services around London and rural services in the South East. Although their class number is in the 3xx series most collect electric current via the 750v DC 3rd rail system though some have pantographs. These can also collect current from 25kV AC overhead lines for cross-London services and can venture up as far as Milton Keynes and St. Albans. Some Class 377s have been converted from the similar Class 375 as detailed below.

Number built: 211 sets (plus 28 sets converted from Class 375)
Built: 2002-
Builder: Bombardier Derby
Engine: 6 or 4 Bombardier traction motors
Power: 2, 120 hp (1, 500 kW) or 1, 341 hp (1, 000 kW)
Formation: Driving Motor Composite Open (DMCO)+Motor Second Open (MSO)+
Trailer Second Open (TSO)+DMCO

They are in service with Southern and Thameslink and more will be built over the next few years. The fleet is split into a number of sub-classes.

Sub-class Details
377/1 Original, third-rail DC 4-car operated by Southern
377/2 Dual voltage 4-car operated by Southern and Thameslink
377/3 Third rail DC 3-car units converted from Class 375s operated by Southern
377/4 Third rail DC 4-car operated by Southern
377/5 Dual voltage 4-car operated by Thameslink
377/6 Third rail DC 5-car operated by Southern
377/7 Dual voltage 5-car operated by Southern

Southern 377 612 at London Bridge

Southern 377 440 at Clapham Junction

Southern 377 701 at West Brompton