Class 83

As with the early diesel locomotives British Railways ordered a number of different AC electric locomotives in small batches (for a total of 100 locomotives) for the electrification of the West Coast Main Line. Unlike the diesels however BR exerted a lot more control over the Classes 81 to 85 which looked very similar but differed in internal equipment used. Fifteen of the 100 locomotives ordered were by English Electric as the AL3 later Class 83. Unfortunately while English Electric diesel locomotives were hard to beat the Class 83 disappointed [1].

Number built: 15
Built: 1960-62
Builder: English Electric Vulcan Foundry
Engine: 4 EE435A traction motors (25kV AC OLHE)
Power: 2, 950 hp (2, 200 kW)
Wheel arrangement: Bo-Bo

The Class 83s were lighter (three tons less than the Class 82 for example) and less powerful than the other prototype classes though English Electric considered this a virtue as it made them cheaper to build, a quarter of the price of a Deltic! The main weakness of the Class 83 was with their mercury-arc rectifiers which gave a lot of trouble and a time in the late 60s the entire class was put into storage [2].

In the early 1970s they were restored into service with silicon-diode rectifiers and continued in service until the early 1980s their relative lack of power compared to other electric locomotives saw them surplus to requirements and withdrawals began. A few managed to survive in service until the end of the decade on Euston empty coaching stock duties and even received Intercity livery. One of these 83 012 has been preserved.
83 013, locations and photographer in all photos unknown
83 012 in Intercity livery
83 015 looking a bit worse for wear

[1] Gavin Morrison, AC Electric Locomotives in Colour (Ian Allan, 2013) p. 13
[2] Brian Haresnape, Electric Locomotives (Ian Allan, 1983) p. 53