British Rail Class 85

class of 40 Bo′Bo′ 3200hp 25kV AC electric locomotives

The British Rail Class 85 is an electric locomotive built during the early 1960s, as part of BR's policy to develop a standard electric locomotive. Five prototype classes (81-85) were built and evaluated, which eventually led to the development of the Class 86 locomotive. The locomotives of Class 85 were Originally fitted with germanium rectifiers which were eventually replaced by silicon rectifiers. Forty of these locomotives were built from 1961-64 by BR at Doncaster Works. The class were used to haul trains on the then newly electrified West Coast Main Line, from Birmingham, to Crewe, Manchester Piccadilly, Liverpool and later Preston. By 1965, electrification had spread south to London Euston.

British Railways AL5
British Rail Class 85
85007 at Carlisle
Type and origin
Power typeElectric
BuilderBritish RailwaysDoncaster Works
Build date1961–1964
Total produced40
 • WhyteBo-Bo
 • UICBo'Bo'
Gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Wheel diameter4 ft 0 in (1.219 m)
Length56 ft 6 in (17.22 m)
Loco weight79.5 long tons (80.8 t)
Electric system/s25 kV AC
Traction motors847 hp (632 kW) BTH 189, 4 off
Train heatingElectric Train Heating
Loco brakeAir
Train brakesVacuum, Dual from 1968–1971
Performance figures
Top speed100 mph (160 km/h)
Power output3,200 hp (2,400 kW)
Tractive effort50,000 lbf (222,000 N)
Brakeforce69 long tons-force (688 kN)
Railroad(s)British Rail
NumberE3056–E3095; later 85001–84040
Axle load classRoute availability 6
DispositionOne preserved, remainder scrapped

Under the earlier BR classification, the type was given the designation AL5 (meaning the 5th design of 25 kV AC Locomotive), and locomotives were numbered E3056-E3095. In 1968, this was changed to Class 85, when BR introduced a new computer numbering system. From 1971 onwards, locomotives were progressively renumbered into the 85001-040 series. Fifteen locomotives were converted for freight only use, numbered in the 85/1 series. These locomotives were restricted to 80 mph.