British Rail locomotive and multiple unit numbering and classification

British Rail Locomotive And Multiple Unit Numbering And Classification

British Rail locomotive and multiple unit numbering and classification

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A number of different numbering and classification schemes were used for locomotives and multiple units operated by British Railways (BR), and this page explains the principal systems. This section also covers the post-privatisation period, as the broad numbering and classification arrangements have not altered since the break-up of BR.

Locomotives and multiple units (the majority being self-propelled) have frequently had similar arrangements for classification and numbering, so are considered together here. There are also links to other pages that deal in greater depth with the particulars of individual types.

Constituent companies

In 1948, BR inherited a variety of locomotives and multiple units from the 'Big Four' railway companies and some smaller concerns. Details of the numbering and classification systems used by the 'Big Four' companies are covered in the following pages:

In the main, new locomotives and multiple units built by BR to pre-nationalisation designs were numbered and classified according to the principles applied by the relevant 'Big Four' company.

1948 numbering and classification

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