4 Aug 2012
Front ends are getting uglier again
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?
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.
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?