4 Aug 2012

Front ends are getting uglier again

Class 70 001 PowerHaul on Felixstowe-Lawley St working bemuses commuters on platform 10 of Stratford station. 15/4/10


What has gone wrong with locomotive front-end design? The class 70 Darth Vader look and the Vossloh Eurolight diesel seem to be part of a trend. It is styling rather than design. Why? What is this about? The Vossloh is a development of the class 67, a simple angular shape with no pretensions - this one seems to have got into British Rail's mid-1960s livery and is none the worse for that. So why was there a desire to fuss around with a perfectly sound design?

Class 67 Diesel Loco No. 67001 In Arriva Trains Blue Livery On Thunderbird Stand by - Newcastle 25thOctober 2011

In the early days of diesel locomotives, there were some hideous monstrosities. The first diesels in Britain were not the most elegant things on rails but eventually, a design panel was set up and some top class industrial designers were engaged, such as Mischa Black who was responsible for, amongst other designs, the Western class 52 diesel hydraulic.

Class 52 Western Champion

In more recent times there have been some tidy designs such as the British version of the Pendolino,   by, I believe, Jones Garrard of Leicester.


But now design seems to be going bad again. What is happening?


  1. Wot no anti-HS2 spin?

  2. I've found if you stare at them long enough they start to look less ugly..

    The class 70s are horrible though.

    Here's a slightly better photo of the Eurolight http://www.flickr.com/photos/traxtraccion/7761085190/lightbox/ - it's still got issues though