The Locomotives

Prototype EM1

Early in 1941 the prototype EM1, number 6701, emerged from Doncaster works. Like the NER Bo+Bos, the two bogies were articulated together and carried the buffer beams and draw gear, so that none of the actual drawbar pull was carried through the main frames. At the time it was felt that 'As the locomotive develops 1,850 h.p. at the one hour rating of the traction motors, multiple unit operation was not thought to be necessary for normal traffic requirements, so that in the event of two locomotives running coupled together, each locomotive must carry its own driving crew.'

After some 'shakedown' trials on the jointly owned Manchester South Junction and Altrincham line, the locomotive was place in store (probably with ex NER Bo+Bo number 11) until the cessation of hostilities.

When that time arrived, the railways in Holland had been decimated by the retreating Third Reich, so the Dutch State Railway, Nederlandse Spoorwegen, embarked on a massive rebuilding program. One of the advantages was that they were effectively starting with a 'clean sheet', and they chose to electrify many routes at 1500 volts d.c. To assist them with their locomotive shortage, and to provide testing beyond the facilities in this country, the LNER agreed to lease/lend the NS the locomotive in 1947. 6000, as she had now been renumbered, arrived in Utrecht on 11th September, 1947. Almost immediately it was nicknamed 'Tommy', and after a few alterations to suit NS requirements, was put to work on 1200 ton freight trains. The following year saw 6000 make its debut on passenger trains, and all the time information was being relayed to England to improve the design.

In March 1952 the locomotive was returned to England and given an overhaul and received her BR number of 26000. In a ceremony at Liverpool Street station held on June 30th, she was officially named 'TOMMY' by the N.S. President, F.Q. den Hollander. Underneath the name was a plaque stating 'So named by drivers of the Netherland State Railways to whom this locomotive was loaned 1947-1952'.

'TOMMY' worked across the Pennines for several years, but was non-standard. In October 1968 she was dumped at Bury along with the recently withdrawn EM2's, was reinstated in 1969 and eventually withdrawn in April, 1970. Allegedly refused by the Railway Museum at Clapham as 'not important enough', she was eventually cut up at Crewe in October, 1972. Technical Specifications Data Table

Production EM1

76010 at Guide Bridge
Suitably armed with the feedback from Holland, the production of EM1's went into full swing. Much of the electrical equipment needed had been ordered pre-war, and had been held in store. Soon the shiny black electric locomotives were emerging from Gorton works at a rate of three a month before being sent down south to Ilford for 'running in'. The period covering the phasing in of services over Woodhead has already been covered in the History section, so will not be repeated here. It was initially proposed that the locomotives would only use the rear most pantograph for current collection, allowing the front one to pass under any obstruction hanging from the wire, but during it was discovered that not only were the emissions from steam locomotives causing the underside of the contact wire to become dirty, during winter ice would also form there, causing intermittent contact. From then on both pantographs were used.

From 1968 to 1970 many of the class were fitted with dual brakes and equipped for multiple working, indicated by the long m.u. cables hanging from the front of the locomotive. A popular rumour is that one of the earlier locomotives was in Crewe works for the installation of m.u. equipment, but the fitters experienced great trouble cutting into the bodywork. The reason being that the first few locomotives had actually been built from surplus armour plate. The locomotive was duly returned to traffic unconverted! In 1975-7 a further batch were converted, but this time the vacuum brake was dispensed with. A spot of renumbering left the locomotives in distinct groups, with 76001/2/3/4/20/40/1/3/46-57 vacuum only, no mu fittings, 76006-16/18/21-30 dual braked and 76031-39 air only.

When the route was closed in 1981 the remaining locomotives became redundant, and were withdrawn en-bloc. Rumours of sale to foreign railways and deliberate vandalism to ensure otherwise abounded. Eventually the various locomotives had their air brake equipment removed and all bar the asbestos fitted machines were disposed of for scrap. The number 1 cab of 26048 was removed by Reddish depot, and is now on display at the Greater Manchester Museum of Science and Industry as 76039. Only a few months after the main disposal, the asbestos fitted locomotives were also sold to an approved breaker equipped to deal with the substance. The scrap yards had no trouble coping with the armour plate! Technical Specifications Data Table